Watch: Did Tesla's Autopilot system do the right thing in this crash?
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Proper full autonomous driving, no matter what anyone says, is surely years away from being in the hands of the public. But that's not to say that the 'level two' autonomous systems haven't improved vastly in recent years.
Tesla is still, arguably, at the top of the pile. But as frequent readers will know, that doesn't mean it's not above the occasional error. Whether an 'error' took place in this latest video has become the hot topic of the DRIVEN office this afternoon.
Earlier this week a video surfaced of a Tesla Model 3 Performance incident in the US. The Model 3, in the process of passing a pair of trucks, suddenly jammed on the brakes to avoid a truck that had been straddling the painted line between lanes.
Behind the Model 3, a Dodge Durango had just made a lane change to file in behind the Tesla — piling into the back of the EV causing steering and suspension damage to the SUV and the leaking of much insulating foam on the Model 3.
The Model 3 driver later reported that he was feeling okay. Despite being one of those chain reaction crashes where everything happens in a hurry, thankfully just one other car was involved (a Toyota Prius that suffered a little nick) and the two walking wounded were able to retire in the centre lane.
There's no doubt, watching the vision, that the Durango was too close to the Model 3 in the first place. And likewise, it would be hard to tell if the offending truck was simply not paying attention or in the process of changing lanes (it wasn't using its indicators at the time).
The question we posed to each other here was; if a human were driving that Tesla, would slamming the brake pedal be their decision?
The team's split down the middle; one half suggesting that they'd think it not unreasonable to expect a human to behave exactly the same, while the other half thought most were more likely to feather the break and ease across. For the record, the driver of the Model 3 in the crash said that he was about to hit the brakes regardless.
"Everyone in the car was freaking out about the semi," said the driver, Twitter user @UNPLGD. "It crosses the line and we all thought it was going to hit us. I was preparing to break myself. It's easy to say that in hindsight, but you weren't in the driver seat. Good thing the insurance put fault on the Durango."