2023-11-27 Twitter Goes Berserk Over Old Video Showing Radar-Less Tesla Model Y Can't Stop for Kids - autoevolution

Twitter Goes Berserk Over Old Video Showing Radar-Less Tesla Model Y Can't Stop for Kids

A seven-month-old video is resurfacing on social media. It shows a radar-less Tesla Model Y being put to the test against a Lexus RX with Luminar technology. The EV fails to stop for a kid sitting in the middle of the street. This prompted backlash from the automaker’s fans. It also reminds the public about the perils of giving up on radars.
Radar-less Tesla Model Y Not Stopping for a Kid 8 photos
Photo: Luminar on YouTube
Radar-Less Tesla Model Y Not Stopping for KidsRadar-Less Tesla Model Y Not Stopping for KidsRadar-Less Tesla Model Y Not Stopping for KidsRadar-Less Tesla Model Y Not Stopping for KidsModel Y vs RX Emergency BrakingThe Test DummyRadar-Less Tesla Model Y Not Stopping for Kids
Tesla confirmed that it gave up on radar technology for its Northern American customers that had Model 3s and Model Ys on order in May last year. Customers of the same vehicles from Europe and the Middle East received the radar-less units starting this year, after a 12-month delay.

Dropping LiDAR has been criticized by some experts and automotive journalists, but the company went ahead with it anyway.

At CES 2022, Luminar – a company that sells LiDAR technology and hardware – demonstrated that a Lexus RX equipped with its products can detect a child dummy sitting in the middle of the street while a Tesla Model Y cannot. This happened in January, almost seven months ago.

The video didn’t get very popular. Even at the time of writing this article, it has under 9,500 views.

But the whole thing went viral

However, things shared on social media tend to spread like wildfire. A short clip recorded by someone attending the January event has been published Wednesday on Twitter. In a couple of hours, it accrued over 2.3 million views, over 7,000 retweets, and over 56,000 likes. The footage you can see down below was accompanied by the following description - “It’s 2022, and Teslas still aren’t stopping for children.”

Radar\-Less Tesla Model Y Not Stopping for Kids
Photo: Taylor Ogan on Twitter
This prompted backlash from fans of the EV maker who said, “Full Self-Driving is in beta and all users understand 100% the driver must be in control,” although the Luminar demonstration was revolving around emergency braking when detecting a living obstacle while accelerating and not automated or, better said, assisted driving.

Others said Luminar was right in showing this footage and argued that Tesla’s camera system can’t properly see and detect a small human that’s not moving, while radar-equipped cars have this ability.

It’s also relevant to know that Model S and Model X vehicles still come with radars. The cheaper Model 3 and Model Y are problematic in this respect.

But a prominent Tesla shareholder got involved in this heated discussion and said that Tesla’s Vision system can detect “a piece of cardboard that is not a child.” Furthermore, they argued that a Model Y “wouldn’t be braking every time a piece of cardboard flew through the road.”

A follow-up video shows that Luminar didn’t use cardboard kids but child dummies that resembled the shape of a small human.

The Test Dummy
Photo: Taylor Ogan on Twitter
Still, the Tesla fan didn’t give up and asked his almost 129,000 followers if someone would be willing to put their kid in front of a Model 3 with Full Self-Driving Beta enabled. They said this would only serve to “make a point” and added “I won’t run them over,” to calm or encourage a parent that would be open to such a proposition.

There's too much confusion

Another Tesla fan quickly went out and tested the Full Self-Driving and their neighborhood. They proved the car recognizes road obstacles and goes around them.

Lastly, this whole situation remains a misunderstanding. The issue at hand isn’t that Tesla’s Full Self-Driving doesn’t work. The problem is the Model Y used by Luminar didn’t engage its brakes to avoid destroying the dummy. Automatic Emergency Braking Systems are mandatory for new cars in most markets. Luminar didn’t disable any emergency systems on the Model Y used for the demonstration.

Tesla, as per usual, hasn’t reacted to this situation. Even though the footage is old, this only adds to the automaker’s issues. Recently, the California DMV filed two complaints in which it argues the company has misled its customers with Autopilot and FSD.

Even though Elon Musk said back in 2020 that Autopilot "almost" offers level 5 autonomy, the test shows that's not the case. Level 5 means you won't have to worry about driving at all, and the carmaker takes full responsibility. Yes, that includes liability too.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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