Can we really trust autonomous driving?
We are moving into an era of autonomous driving vehicles that plan to take the chore, and hazard, of driving out of the hands of humans and place them squarely in the lap of computers. For most this idea seems rather brilliant, especially when you see what cars such as the Tesla Model S can do when left in self-driving mode.
But these are still relatively uncharted waters and manufacturers themselves are still hesitant to claim fully autonomous driving as yet. Many owners of semi-autonomous cars have taken liberties by taking naps while driving, while others have had a rude awakening when their cars malfunction. A video of an accident in Taiwan shows us what happens when we place our trust in these machines without keeping a watchful eye.
The Tesla Model 3 in this video is seen hurtling towards an overturned truck on a busy highway, with whom we can assume is the driver frantically making gestures to slow the oncoming EV, but to no avail. As the road hazard approaches, the Tesla makes no effort whatsoever to slow down.
It will make any car lover cringe to see the inevitable taking place. As the Tesla passes the person begging the driver to slow down, we can see the car's emergency forward collision system kicking in: the brakes lock up, and there's a puff of white smoke as the tires are lit up, but it's too little too late, unfortunately. According to local media, the driver claims that Autopilot assist features were turned on at the time of the accident. Thankfully, nobody was injured.
As the Tesla hits its brakes, it takes only a second for it to slam into the roof of the truck that is blocking the road. The driver can be thankful that the truck wasn't overturned in the other direction, as this would have made the impact much harder. The Tesla smashes into the truck, and in the pictures taken afterward, we can see that the entire hood of the Tesla has been swallowed up by the truck.
This crash comes shortly after Tesla announced the addition of more advanced autonomous driving features. The over-the-air update named 'Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control' released in April allows Telsa Model 3 and Model Y cars to automatically recognize and stop at traffic lights and stop signs. That's all good and well, but we wish Tesla could get its cars to stop for overturned trucks in the middle of the highway.