Tesla Autopilot recently saved the lives of 8 people in 2 Model X SUVs after they were hit by a falling tree. When it comes to Tesla Autopilot, there are usually two opinions: a) it’s dangerous and b) it's revolutionary. However, for the people driving their Model Xs during Storm Dennis in Dorset, Tesla Autopilot was nothing but miraculous.
“I can’t believe we’re all still alive,” said Laurence Sanderson to The Mirror UK as he talked about his family’s recent accident while inside their Tesla Model X. The Sanderson family was driving in Dorset on a holiday in the midst of Storm Dennis when a 400-year-old oak tree crashed into their all-electric SUV.
One of our members was saved thanks to Autopilot this weekend but the story is insane as the other side of the tree was another X owner who was also saved! The news broke on our forum and now the owner has sent the story to the press 👍 https://t.co/MHMAkAXe7P@elonmusk @tesla— Tesla Owners UK (@TeslaOwnersUK) February 17, 2020
Fortunately, Tesla Autopilot’s automatic emergency braking (AEB) capability kicked in and stopped the vehicle right before the oak tree could fall onto the Model X. “Elon Musk did us proud,” Sanderson said, talking about how well-built Tesla vehicles were, specifically their Autopilot driver-assist system.
It was Tesla Autopilot’s AEB capability the ultimately saved the Sanderson family and a fellow Model X owner who ran into the fallen tree on the other side. Amazingly, another Model X owner taking the same route and going in the opposite direction also ended up falling victim to the massive falling tree.
Josh Whitelock, along with his girlfriend, Kitty McConnell and her mom Julia were in the other Model X which hit by the oak tree on the other side. They all survived the oak tree’s crash, thanks to Tesla Autopilot as well.
''I was on Autopilot driving home when I saw a flash from the power line which lit up the tree as it fell. We stopped suddenly. There was a loud crack and then the sound of metal on metal,” said Whitelock.
The Model Xs’ incident with an oak tree proves that Tesla Autopilot isn’t dangerous as some bears may suggest. Based on the events of the crash it is quite the opposite. However, most people don’t fully understand how to use Autopilot properly or even how Tesla’s driver-assist system actually works.
Most of the ill-conceived notions about Autopilot have to do with it being mislabeled. Tesla’s Autopilot system is often misconstrued for and used synonymously to the company’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) capabilities. However, there is a distinction between the two. Autopilot, for instance, was only ever a driver-assist system, meaning it still needs input from the driver at its current iteration.
Even so, Tesla Autopilot is in a class of its own. Nikkei Business Publications just did a teardown of Tesla’s affordable sedan and was left speechless when it uncovered the Model 3’s HW3 chip—otherwise known as the brain of Autopilot and FSD.
“We cannot do it,” said an engineer from one of Japan’s major automaker about HW3 after analyzing Tesla's all-electric sedan. The teardown of the Model 3 had revealed that Tesla’s HW3 chip was far more advanced than anything currently being developed in the autonomous vehicle sector--and Tesla hasn’t even finished improving it yet.
Autopilot heralds a new era in the auto industry. An era that, as the Sanderson family can attest to, is much safer for drivers and their passengers. “We were just in pure shock. Tesla has saved eight lives. It just goes to show that life can be over in a split second but thanks to Tesla making amazing cars that wasn't the case this time,” said Sanderson.
Featured Image Credit: The Mirror UKFollow @PurplePanda88
About the Author
Longtime writer and news/book editor. Writing about Tesla allows me to contribute something good to the world, while doing something I love.