Does Tesla autopilot avoid bicyclists?

The Tesla autopilot video “Self-Driving Tesla Podcast w/ Whole Mars,” posted to YouTube in February 2022, shows the shocking seconds when a Tesla automobile in Full Self Driving Beta Mode almost hit a bicyclist on a San Francisco street. Had it not been for the quick actions of vlogger and Tesla enthusiast Omar Qazi, there would have been a collision with the oblivious cyclist. Qazi, who goes by the screen name HyperChange, claims that the vehicle precisely responded as designed because it detected an obstacle and took action to avoid it, but that is not the result seen by many people in the video.

Aaron Gold writing in MotorTrend Magazine, notes that the narrowly missed bike accident was not the only problem that he spotted when watching the full video. He writes that at 10 minutes and 13 seconds, the Tesla Model 3 vehicle enters an intersection and heads for the sidewalk before stopping in the intersection. Then, the car did not begin to move when the light turned green at 12 minutes and 49 seconds. At about the 22-minute mark, the vehicle entered the bus-only lane three times. At 24 minutes and 28 seconds, the car goes straight in a right-turn-only lane. Finally, at 25 minutes and 35 seconds, the vehicle weaves for no reason.

Stanford University Research

While Tesla claims that the vehicle equipped with an autopilot system is safe on public roads, researchers at Stanford University say that this is not the first time the car almost hit a bicyclist, which could have deadly consequences if an accident were to occur. Despite the findings by the researchers, Tesla continues to claim that semi-autonomous cars are safer than human drivers.

Heather Knight and Dylan Moore from Stanford took a Tesla vehicle for a test spin in 2017. Knight, who holds a doctorate in robotics, found that Tesla could only identify about 30% of cars and about 1% of bicyclists that it saw. Therefore, she concluded that the vehicle was dangerous.

Tesla Vehicle Spots Bicyclist Before Driver

Unlike the previous stories. vlogger and Tesla Model 3 owner Dirty Tesla is very impressed with the performance of his vehicle. He posted a video showing that the system detected a bicyclist traveling on the shoulder of the road before he saw the bicyclist.

Tesla released its Traffic Light and Stop Sign recognition driving software feature in April 2020. At that time, Tesla says that the only major software update that remained was its inner-city update.

Safety Features Built Into Tesla Vehicles

While many think that Tesla vehicles have many safety features built into them, that is not the case when comparing the features to other cars in its price range.

Tesla’s built-in safety features include:

  • Camera in models 3 and Y built in all years and models S and X constructed in 2021 and after
  • Security alarm which flashes exterior lights and sounds an alarm if a locked trunk or door is opened without a valid entry key
  • PIN to drive allows you to set a four-digit code that must be loaded before the car can be driven
  • Sentry mode turns on the car’s cameras if suspicious activity is detected near the vehicle.
  • Passive entry allows anyone with the key fob to unlock the car just by having the fob nearby.
  • Intrusion signals sends ultrasonic sound waves through the car and set off the alarm if they bounce off an unexpected object.

While bicyclists already must contend with roads made for automobiles that leave them little room to navigate safely, many are questioning the safety of Tesla’s self-driving cars, especially those equipped with full self-driving capabilities, after watching this video of the Tesla almost hitting a cyclist.

What are your thoughts regarding Tesla’s safety features as they relate to identifying pedestrians and bicyclists on the road?

 

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