Originally published on EV Obsession.
Indeed, humans need help on the road. Automobile accidents take people’s lives away every day. Anyone on the road sees collisions all too often. Driving demands split-second judgement and navigation in streams of fast-flowing traffic. On a positive note, automakers are implementing autonomous driving hardware and software to cut down on such human challenges and accidents, led by Tesla.
Moving by smashed cars in the scenes I’ve witnessed, I note the fragility of human life. Things may change. We can hope. Autonomous cars mean more sensors to catch surrounding movements, to see through the fog, to brake at the sign of an animal or pedestrian. If one survives a messy accident, there is often years of rehabilitation required. Perhaps we will find a decrease in such long-term and permanent injury, along with a drop in air pollution, thanks to autonomous EVs.
Garth Woodworth of Teslarati describes one of his more interesting experiences with Tesla’s Autopilot in the video below.
Woodworth highlights: “My goal for the day was to video the lane changing feature of the Autopilot, and that’s why my cameras were running. Even so, this situation provides an interesting follow-up to my previous video on the ultrasonic sensors as experienced in the perpendicular parking feature.” Woodworth repeated the perpendicular parking test eight times in the same parking spot (as used in the video) and was sure of the accuracy of the sensor software by the end.
Returning to the difficult merging, “The video begins with a red truck normally passing while the two lanes continue well ahead of his passing location. Following that truck, the driver of a Toyota decides to pass, but his decision to do so is too late. Well before he reaches the rear of my car, the lane-marking between the two lanes has disappeared, and his pass will take place entirely in a one lane section of road that is predictably narrowing to a standard lane width.”
Describing this situation where two lanes merge to one, he notes, “the usual behaviour of the AP is to hug the outside lane and, after the lane-divider marking is gone, allow itself be shepherded by the converging outer lane-marking toward the centre lane marking as the road narrows.” He shares that the combo of his control with the car’s AP is still necessary at times. He watched this time and was happy with the result. Quite impressive, indeed.
Something I wasn’t aware of before, but is quite impressive as well, is how the Tesla’s adjust their placement within lanes based on other cars: “When the Tesla is in the centre lane with traffic on both sides of it. If the lanes are narrow, the AP stays within the lane-markings as general guidance, but as the sensors pick up the vehicles on either side, it adjusts its position within the lane, so it is more or less equal distant from each flanking vehicle.”
The Teslas treat parking in a similar way. Woodworth summarizes, “there is no question that the AP is programmed to give greater priority to avoiding contact with the vehicle than transgressing the lane-marking.”
Wondering how much the attention span one must provide to spot the decision of when to take over? Buy or lease a Tesla to find out.