Tesla Autopilot Avoids Collision, Saves State Trooper's Life


Tesla Autopilot saved Bret Peters, a former North Carolina State Trooper, while he was driving down Highway 49 near Cabarrus arena on Friday, March 6, 2020. Tesla’s safety feature proved its worth once again by saving Peters from a head-on collision. 

“I initially looked down to see what was going on with the car and why it was reacting or why it was braking. When I looked up, I saw the vehicle in my lane, and before I could even put my foot on the brake, it had started changing lanes,” Bret Peters told FOX 46

Autopilot acted as an extra pair of eyes for the driver, and that extra set proved useful. The whole ordeal was captured by Tesla’s built-in dash cams, which have a 360-degree field of view when put together, providing extensive information and data to the driver and EV automaker. 

Autopilot’s cameras were able to catch sight of the incoming vehicle before Peters. As such, it was able to react much quicker than Peters and change lanes to prevent a head-on collision with the incoming vehicle.

Tesla Autopilot acted similarly during another incident involving two Model X SUVs and a falling tree in the UK. Two Model X drivers were driving through Storm Dennis when a 400-year-old oak tree started falling in front of them. The Tesla owners were driving on opposite lanes, heading toward each other with the tree falling right in the middle of them. 

The drivers were not able to react quickly enough to stop before the tree landed on top of them, but Autopilot was by applying its automatic emergency brakes. The Model X vehicles stopped right before the tree fell, and both their trunks were damaged, but everyone inside escaped with their lives. If it weren’t for Autopilot’s quick reaction, the two Model X SUVs would have been crushed by the tree and might have hit each other as well. 

The eight cameras equipped on a Tesla are just one part of the company’s Autopilot feature. In addition to the suite of cameras, Tesla Autopilot also utilizes radar, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and GPS. 

Autopilot is essentially a beefed-up driver-assist system with the primary goal of keeping the people in the car safe. Tesla has pushed the envelope with Autopilot with the help of its Hardware 3.0 computer. 

Tesla’s Hardware 3 computer essentially acts like the human brain. It receives information from the dashcams and another data-gathering tech in a Tesla. Besides cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors, a Tesla is also equipped with unique sensory hardware installed in a Tesla’s steering wheel and pedals. All of these feed information to Hardware 3, which in turn, gets utilized by Tesla’s Neural Net. 

The Neural Net teaches Autopilot and Tesla’s Full Self-Driving feature the safety precautions it needs to know to protect drivers. The data gathered is shared with all Tesla vehicles, which is why Peters Tesla knew that all it had to do to avoid the head-on collision was slow down and changed lanes in real-time.  

Featured Image Credit: Fox46 Charlotte

About the Author

Claribelle Deveza

Claribelle Deveza

Longtime writer and news/book editor. Writing about Tesla allows me to contribute something good to the world, while doing something I love.

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