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Autopilot Swerves Aggressively to Avoid High-Speed Collision with Hog at Night

Among the choir of people thanking Elon Musk for his existence every night, the very distinct voice of a wild pig could be heard this Sunday. It didn't have much else to say but for expressing its heartfelt gratitude.
Autopilot swerving for hog 1 photo
Tesla's driving aid suite that goes by the now infamous name Autopilot was receiving some unwanted attention lately. Thanks to a crash in Taiwan that bore a lot of similarities with the one that ended Joshua Brown's life back in 2016 (with the very important distinction that nobody was hurt this time), the Autopilot was once again under scrutiny from the media.

In brief, the system - as well as the driver - failed to spot a truck overturned on its side in the middle of a highway lane. The EV plowed straight into the stationary vehicle planting its nose inside for a very cartoonish image. Once again, the driving aid suite failed to detect a big white truck against a brightly lit sky despite having a radar in its arsenal.

That makes what's about to follow all the more impressive because it's the absolute opposite of the Taiwan situation. If that happened in broad daylight, it is nearly pitch black here - at least as far as the car's cameras are concerned because the road does feature streetlights on one side. And if the object there was a large truck, here we're looking at a regular-sized hog. And yet the system has no problem avoiding the wildlife and continuing unabated.

What's really remarkable isn't so much that Autopilot picked up on the wild pig, but the maneuver it pulled to avoid the collision. The EV swerved to the left at speed in what looked like a very adept recreation of the moose test. The rear left wheel almost goes off-road as the car's tail wiggles just a tiny bit before regaining poise and resuming its position in the right lane.

The video shows the car did catch the animal, but only with its side in what was definitely not a fatal hit - or even traumatizing in any way - as opposed to the aftermath of the head-on crash that would have likely occurred was it not for the Autopilot. Given the speed, it's hard to imagine a regular human driver would have been able to pull off a similar maneuver without endangering both the animal and, more importantly, anyone inside the vehicle.

It is a well-known fact that Teslas are nearly impossible to flip over due to their very low center of gravity, but that doesn't mean a driver can't lose control when turning too aggressively at a high enough speed. In these situations, the computer is your best bet for a 100 percent safe evasion, no matter how disturbing that might sound to some.


 
 
 
 
 

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