Tesla goes one for three in DIY pedestrian-avoidance test

Tesla Model S owner uses his 'friend' as a stand-in.

One Tesla Model S owner ran three of his tests with the electric sedan's autonomous-driving system to see if they will actually brake as needed to avoid an actual, living person. In this case, the owner, known on YouTube as KmanAuto, used his "friend" Mike as the test pedestrian. As shown in the five-minute video above, the car only managed one out of three in terms of a success rate. Thankfully, Mike proved to be quick on his feet.

Oddly, it was the most "auto" of the systems that worked the best in the test, according to Electrek. The "summon" feature, which the owner can use to remotely move the car by itself at slow speeds, did self-applied the brakes and steered clear to avoid the pedestrian.

Use the Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC) and Autosteer at Autopilot's minimum speed of 18 miles per hour, though, and the tests proved that you can't count on the Tesla AI. Under both of those tests, the car's dash lit up and pinged to let the driver know it was about to hit the pedestrian, but the brakes were not applied by the car.

"It failed in our opinion to attempt to slow or stop the car," KmanAuto wrote on the YouTube post. "Now, each situation is different, but in this case, it did not work. I have had it emergency brake when another car has pulled out in front of me though."

Tesla, which includes forward-view cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors on its Model S and Model X vehicles, has clearly stated both in its owners manuals and to the public that the beta software autonomous-driving features should not be relied upon as collision-avoidance mechanisms, and that the ultimate responsibility to control the car is the driver's. If you weren't sure of that, just watch the video.

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