Semi autonomous cars are not perfect. Classified as Level 2 Autonomy, they’re a stepping stone to a future which - whether we like it or not - may not require a driver at all. But for now with semi-autonomous systems like Tesla’s Autopilot and Volvo’s Pilot Assist, the squishy bit behind the wheel is still very much needed. Case in point? The accident in the video above, which happened near Dallas, Texas recently.
The driver posted pictures of the aftermath up on Reddit, explaining that his car had hit a barrier while his Model S 70D was running on Autopilot. Coincidentally, another Reddit user browsing the thread had a link to some dashcam footage taken from the car behind, which showed the full nature of the crash.
What it seems the original poster hadn’t mentioned initially is that he traveling through roadworks at the time, and that the accident happened where a concrete barrier cut across the lane, arguably too suddenly and without enough warning. It’s unfortunate that the Tesla’s front collision warning system didn’t react to the barrier, but at the same time, you can see why Autopilot assumed it needed to keep on going straight, given the road markings.
Crucially, had the driver been as alert as you’re supposed to be when behind the wheel of a semi-autonomous car - and as alert as Tesla itself tells you to be - he’d have been able to avoid it himself. As a silver lining, the driver at least escaped serious injury.
Source: Reddit via Electrek