Tesla's controversial semi-autonomous (aka Autopilot) mode has been making headlines for the last year and not for good reasons. From fatal crashes to almost comical run-ins with parked cars, it seems the feature has had a run of bad luck.
Now, a new dashcam video posted on YouTube has offered another very visual very real example of the security benefits of Autopilot. The footage posted by a user called TeslaExposed shows a Tesla Model 3 swiftly avoiding a crash.
"Close call while cruising on the highway along with traffic when an idiot who was speeding and cutting everyone off almost sideswiped us with kid inside. Autopilot was engaged and started to brake and moved us to the right lane to avoid a collision," explained the YouTuber in the video's description.
He then explained that he presumed the system had detected that there were no vehicles on the right of the car and safely steered it out of harm's way. "Be safe out there and always be alert even with Autopilot engaged and watch out for idiot drivers," he further added.
The video brought up an important point often made by Tesla. The Autopilot mode is not a substitute for remaining alert on the road at all times.
Great rebuttal by a Tesla owner to those calling for Autopilot to be disabled. Was written with zero input from us. https://t.co/Kfg1ewKoCZ— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 17, 2016
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has consistently defended his system by quoting road accident statistics and comparing possible outcomes of similar events without the help of Autopilot.
Just for perspective https://t.co/ZfMR1aOinY— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 31, 2018
He has also called out the media for their supposedly unfair coverage of Tesla-related accidents.
What’s actually amazing about this accident is that a Model S hit a fire truck at 60mph and the driver only broke an ankle. An impact at that speed usually results in severe injury or death.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 14, 2018
Tesla insists Autopilot improves safety
Tesla has also commonly published blog posts acknowledging any reported accidents but always attempting to explain the many ways Autopilot helps avoid accidents. "No one knows about the accidents that didn’t happen, only the ones that did," said Tesla's March 2018 post.
"There are about 1.25 million automotive deaths worldwide. If the current safety level of a Tesla vehicle were to be applied, it would mean about 900,000 lives saved per year," continued the statement, insisting that Autopilot improves safety.
Such remarks have always been met with resistance, with many stating the company is being insensitive to the victims of these accidents. However, Tesla has always affirmed they are simply trying to prevent more tragic events.
Evidence of Autopilot's life-saving features
Luckily there has been some good news to support Tesla's continued trust in Autopilot. Just last month, music producer Zedd took to Twitter to share how the system saved his life.
There’s lots of “bad” news about Teslas w/ autopilot crashing.— Zedd (@Zedd) May 31, 2018
Just to show the other side too:
I once fell asleep driving home late at night on the highway (w/ autopilot on) and got woken up by it beeping + turning off music to wake me up. Would have prob been dead without it.
While Zedd's testimonial might be the most high-profile support of the Autopilot's success, Tesla has made it clear they're far from finished with their popular self-driving technology.