Tesla Model 3 Avoids Killer Loose Tire in What Looks like Deleted "Rubber" Scene

Tesla Model 3 avoids loose tire 21 photos
Photo: YouTube screenshot
Are you familiar with the movie "Rubber"? You know, the one featuring a tire called "Robert" that goes around killing people and taking showers? I never watched it myself, but whenever I see a tire rolling around by itself, I immediately think of the film. Even more so when it's also endangering people.
Tires shouldn't be bouncing on freeways. They should stay attached to the wheels and do their very important job of maintaining the grip with the asphalt. Luckily, they very rarely become loose these days and when it happens, it's usually caused by a crash.

No matter how many times I watch the clip, I still can't tell where the tire is coming from. Nothing worth noticing seems to happen on the other side of the divider, so the origin of the tire is a mystery. Much like the origins of Robert. Well, maybe they explain it in the movie, but since I haven't watched it...

The car recording the whole incident is a Tesla Model 3. As you might be aware, Teslas can be equipped with Autopilot, the company's driving aid suite that uses radars, cameras, and ultrasound sensors to detect things around the vehicle and react accordingly. The system is said to be able to offer full driving autonomy in the coming years, but for now, it's restricted to keeping the lane and avoiding obstacles.

We've shown you a clip of another Tesla dodging what looked like a wild boar in the dark, a maneuver that would have required superhuman-like reflexes from the driver given the very short reaction time that was available. Despite happening in broad daylight, this encounter with the bouncy tire is similarly scary to watch.

The piece of rubber seemingly comes out of nowhere, expertly jumps over the divider, bounces in front of the car, and would have landed straight on the driver's side of the windshield. This time, though, it wasn't the vehicle's systems that initiated the evasive maneuver, but the human behind the wheel. They swerved quickly to the right just enough to let the tire pass and bother the cars behind which probably only saw the black thing the moment it cleared the Tesla.

Even though it was the driver who reacted, Autopilot did play a role as well. According to the author of the clip, the system quickly intervened to stabilize the car and prevent it from spinning out of control, which is something a regular driver can easily do when applying too much input to the steering wheel at highway speed.

The save is definitely impressive, but it would have been even more so if it had all been AI-controlled. Would the Autopilot have swerved if a car had been in the right lane? Would it have risked reaction from that driver that could have caused a chain of crashes? Or would it have just braced for impact? It's probably the eternal moral conundrum surrounding the whole AI driving thing: who does the system choose to protect in a dangerous situation? It looks like we'll have to find out another time.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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