Tesla has released a few impressive videos of its Autopilot-powered emergency braking feature helping to avoid running over inattentive pedestrians.
What might be even more impressive is that the automaker says that it sees those events happen every day.
There’s a lot of talk about Tesla Autopilot, but one of the least reported aspects of Tesla’s semi-autonomous driver-assist system is that it powers a series of safety features that Tesla includes for free in all cars.
One of those features is Emergency Automatic Braking.
We saw the Autopilot-powered safety feature stop for pedestrians in impressive tests by Euro NCAP last year, but now we see it perform in real-world scenarios and avoiding potentially really dangerous situations.
Tesla has now released some examples of its system braking just in time to save pedestrians.
The new videos were released by Andrej Karpathy, Tesla’s head of AI and computer vision, in a new presentation at the Scaled Machine Learning Conference.
It was held at the end of February, but a video of the presentation was just released (starting when he shows the videos):
In the three video examples, you can see pedestrians emerging from the sides, out of the field of view, and Tesla’s vehicles braking just in time.
Tesla is able to capture and save those videos, thanks to its integrated TeslaCam dashcam feature.
This car might not even have been on the Autopilot, but we continuously monitor the environment around us. We saw that there was a person in front and we slammed on the brake.
The engineer added that Tesla is seeing a lot of those events being prevented by its system:
We see a lot of these — tens to hundreds of these per day where we are actually avoiding a collision and not all of them are true positive, but a good fraction of them are.
In the rest of the presentation, Karpathy explains how Tesla is applying machine learning to its system in order to improve it enough to lead to a fully self-driving system.
I think it’s important to bring attention to these examples considering if an accident happens on Autopilot, it gathers so much attention from the media.
Let’s see how many of them run with this story.
But I get it. People love crashes a lot more than a near-miss.
On another note, I really like how Karpathy communicates Tesla’s self-driving effort. His presentations are always super clear and informative, even for people who are not super experienced in machine learning.
In order for TeslaCam and Sentry Mode to work on a Tesla, you need a few accessories. We recommend Jeda’s Model 3 USB hub (now also available for Model Y) to be able to still use the other plugs and hide your Sentry Mode drive. For the drive, I’m now using a Samsung portable SSD, which you need to format, but it gives you a ton of capacity, and it can be easily hidden in the Jeda hub.
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