A Tesla owner driving in Montana on Autopilot says that his car stopped on its own when it detected a bear and her cubs in the middle of the road.
The whole incident was captured by Tesla’s integrated dashcam feature.
Andrew Whittle, the Tesla Model 3 owner, described the incident:
I was driving my Model 3 Performance near Glacier National Park in Montana in the evening. Most of the road trip from Utah to Montana was done on Autopilot, including this moment where you can see the car goes from cruising at 50 mph to a full stop when sensing this family of bears. The momma bear immediately jumps back out on to the road to get between us and her cubs. She then gives us the death stare till we back up away from her two cubs.
He released this video of the incident captured with ‘TeslaCam‘:
Whittle added about the Autopilot’s performance during the incident:
This was an amazing demonstration of how much better the Autopilot function has gotten since I received the car. Not only did autopilot sense the family of bears in the dark while the car was going 50 mph, but the Dashcam feature recorded the whole thing in great resolution! Thanks again, Tesla!
Tesla Autopilot has been increasingly improving with over-the-air software updates, and it’s now able to detect more objects on the road.
However, the automatic driver-assist is not perfect, and Tesla still recommends that drivers pay attention at all times and be ready to take control.
In this case, it’s unclear if the Autopilot simply slowed down because of usual traffic-aware cruise control, even though the traffic consists of a bunch of bears here, or if it detected an obstacle and activated automatic emergency braking (AEB).
Tesla describes its automatic emergency braking (AEB) system:
Automatic Emergency Braking, a new collision Avoidance Assist feature, is designed to automatically engage the brakes to reduce the impact of an unavoidable frontal collision with another vehicle. The brakes disengage when you press hard on the accelerator pedal, release the brake pedal, or sharply turn the steering wheel.
Based on the smooth braking in the video, it looks like the former is more likely.
It’s one of many examples of Tesla’s Autopilot (and Autopilot-based safety features, like AEB) have helped avoid accidents.
For example, earlier this year, we reported on a Tesla Autopilot safety feature helping save a police officer who ran a red light from getting run over.
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