Over the past few years, we’ve seen a marked increase in the number of videos depicting Tesla’s Autopilot feature assume control of a car and maneuver out of potentially dangerous situations. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given that Tesla’s Autopilot technology continues to improve, not to mention the fact that the number of Tesla vehicles on the road continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
While Tesla’s Autopilot feature is far from perfect — as a recent Consumer Reports review recently revealed — there’s no denying that it’s an intriguing step towards a future where advanced automotive technologies will routinely help prevent what might otherwise be tragic collisions.
The most recent incident involving Autopilot saving the day involves a Model 3 swerving out of harm’s way to avoid what, for a moment, seemed to be a truck veering into the wrong lane.
“My Tesla Model 3 was only 2 days old and it saved me from getting side swiped in the moderately heavy rain,” Jeff McQuinn notes on the YouTube video he posted over the weekend. “I first thought there was something wrong with my car or autopilot was not working well in the rain when it swerved hard into the other lane. It gave all the warnings but i thought maybe rain go onto the camera lens. It wasn’t until I looked at the dash cam that it saved me a moderate accident.”
Video of Autopilot doing its thing can be viewed below. Note that the pertinent portion of the video begins at about 40 seconds in.
Broadly speaking, one of the problems with the way Tesla’s Autopilot is perceived can be traced back to Tesla CEO Elon Musk making incredibly bold predictions about a feature that still needs a lot of polish.
Just last month, for example, Musk said that Tesla will have autonomous robotaxis on the road in 2020 and that the company in about two years will “make a car with no steering wheels or pedals.” Further, Musk said that Tesla’s Autopilot will be so advanced by 2020 that drivers will not even need to pay attention.
These are intriguing predictions but Musk has an extremely bad habit of making grand promises that never even come close to being fulfilled. And then, as we’ve seen time and time again, an avalanche of negative press ensues.