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Tesla Autopilot avoids a crash before it happens

The Model X reacted before there were obvious signs of trouble.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
December 28, 2016
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Frank van Hoesel / DVHardware

Tesla's Autopilot 8.0 has a particularly clever feature: it uses radar to track road activity two cars ahead, helping it avoid danger that you wouldn't normally see. And it now appears that this tech just averted a disaster. Dutch Model X owner Frank van Hoesel has dashcam footage showing his electric crossover reacting to a bad highway crash before it even starts. As you can hear in the video, the Model X's Forward Collision Warning system starts braking when it detects the SUV two vehicles ahead coming to an abrupt stop, even though the driver of the car directly behind it is unaware. The result? Van Hoesel's EV remained untouched when it could easily have contributed to a pile-up.

Thankfully, there were no serious injuries for the occupants of either vehicle involved in the crash.

It's important to note that no modern collision avoidance system is so foolproof that it will always avoid crashes like this. There's a good reason why Tesla still wants you to be ready to take the wheel at a moment's notice. And of course, a system like Autopilot will only protect you if it's turned on in the first place. Still, it's close calls like this that explain why advocates for self-driving car technology are so vocal -- it's potentially safer overall, and can make the difference between driving home and needing a tow.

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