After the death of a Tesla Model X driver who hit a lane separator on the highway while the Autopilot was activated and another minor accident, several other testimonials point to a possible software problem in managing this type of road infrastructure.
Tesla’s pride and joy of using Autopilot Assisted Driving software seems to have a big problem distinguishing between lane separators. On March 23, the driver of a Model X was killed in the accident of his electric car that had been embedded in a concrete track separator. Tesla recognized that the vehicle’s Autopilot was activated at the time of the impact.
Last week, ABC’s local television channel in the San Francisco area, KGO-TV, revealed a similar, this time minor, an accident that occurred in September 2017 with an active Tesla Model S Autopilot. The software did not detect the track splitter and struck it, causing extensive damage.
The Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents.
These accidents are not the only evidence of the Autopilot’s possible difficulty in managing track separators. Two other Tesla drivers have published videos in which they reproduce the conditions in which the two crashes occurred. In both cases, you can see how the car, with Autopilot engaged, goes straight onto the lane separator. The first driver has just enough time to hit the steering wheel to avoid a collision, while the second driver squashes the brake pedal.
Tesla has not yet mentioned the existence of a specific problem with the Autopilot with the track separators. As he has done after every accident, the manufacturer reminds us that his autopilot software requires the driver to keep his hands on the wheel and be attentive to the road.”
The Tesla Autopilot doesn’t prevent all accidents; such a standard would be impossible, but it makes them much less likely to happen,” says the manufacturer. There are indeed several examples where we see the system anticipating an accident and, no doubt, saving lives.