Monday, March 20, 2017

Tesla Model S autopilot crashes. Again.

I'll just leave this here. A Tesla model S, a couple of weeks ago outside Dallas. A lane-shift comes up, the autopilot doesn't see it and slams into the bright yellow barrier. Airbags deployed, a lot of smoke, car comes to a total stop. The insurance company wrote it off. This is another case of autopilot missing a really obvious obstruction or change of circumstance. Not only did it not alert the driver (who should have been paying attention anyway) but it did absolutely nothing to avoid the barrier. Never slowed down, never steered.

But tell me again how accidents will become a thing of the past with drone cars ....

The exploded left-front wheel, left-side damage and all the detonated airbags:

The full sad, sorry story is over at Reddit for everyone to enjoy: My Tesla hit a barrier while I was on autopilot

2 comments:

Paul Canciu said...

From the video, the "autopilot" seems to have read the original markings only, so that would explain the direction of travel. But in that case, it should have also seen the same original lane as being blocked, right? So it should of given a warning, or maybe it should have even stopped. (Though stopping might have caused and accident from behind, because the human driver from the filming vehicle might not have expected a sudden full stop.).
Anyway, the crash wasn't that hard, looking at the damage. I'm actually surprised that the airbags deployed, given that there was no sudden deceleration (at least not enough force for the front airbags).
I'm also surprised that it was written off by the insurance company. There's only damage on the left front, so it's repairable.

Chris said...

Paul - the combination of cameras and forward-looking radar should be able to see stuff like that barrier. It's the same failure that killed the driver last year when the system buried his Tesla under the back of a trailer. I believe there's a latent fault in Tesla's system that they've neither found, nor owned up to yet.
Regarding the insurance write-off - in America, generally speaking, if an airbag goes off, the car is written off. In this case, multiple airbags went off, it cracked the carbon fiber battery tub and split some of the cells too. That would have meant replacing the entire battery assembly (which isn't designed to be removed) and the safety tub that it sits in (which is part of the structure of the car). It also deformed the front-left crash structure, meaning a chunk of the chassis would need to be cut off and a new part put in place. Add to that the new front wing, new bumper, new hood, new headlight, new parking sensors, new airbag sensors, new front suspension (complete - the crash bent the suspension wishbones), new wheel, new tyre, two new airbags, new steering wheel, new interior head-liner and pillar covers (the tear-away sections all got blown open with the airbags) and the cost of repairs could easily have been in the $30k to $40k area.