The Autopilot system is a fantastic driving aid. It reduces driver stress by taking on most of the work. Something that is especially appreciated in long and monotonous trips where the human factor can fail in terms of attention. But this does not mean that it is an autonomous system and as the latest crash of a Tesla Model 3 on a Taiwanese highway shows.
As we can see in the images, the white Model 3 circulated in the left lane of a wide highway that crosses Taiwan from north to south. It did so in conditions that seemed optimal at first glance. There is no rain or anything that prevents vision in a section that is also straight.
But as we can see, the car fails to detect either the truck or the driver of the truck that was at the edge of the lane, who moved slightly when seeing the Tesla arriving, causing a violent impact.
A few meters before impact, just as the Model 3 passes the injured driver’s side, we see a little smoke come out of the car’s wheels. Something that could indicate braking, but that according to the driver has not occurred. Therefore, they may be the remains of the truck’s sheet metal that, when dragging, has left a dirty area that has raised the Tesla in its path.
Luckily the accident has been settled without personal injury and had only material damage. The most important thing is that these types of videos show us that the Autopilot system, despite its advanced development, is not autonomous and needs constant supervision by the driver.
In the absence of knowing the details of the investigation that we suppose will open Tesla, one of the hypotheses is that the white roof of the truck has confused the Autopilot system. As we recall the Autopilot system consists of 8 cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and one front radar, capable (according to the brand) of detecting objects 250 meters away. But this time to be officially confirmed, they have failed.
Constant attention, especially in areas with changes in grade or where the road paint is not entirely proper, can lead to the mistake of a system. A system that can increase our safety but must be used as indicated by the manufacturer and legislation, with constant supervision and hands on the wheel.