I do realise that, of course, this is a serious thing. It’s bad news when cars run into people. I do get that, I promise. But I’m also not going to pretend that watching this Model 3 smack into that pedestro-bot and send its limbs flying around like a sneezed-out mouthful of un-chewed french fries isn’t hilarious, because it is, especially with the unexplained background music on this clip. Trust me, this will make the start of your week a bit better.
The clip was posted on Twitter, and appears to have come from a video clip posted to Weibo in China:
Clip from China of a $TSLA Model 3, evidently equipped with the latest and greatest safety technology. My guess is the 4D dojo supercomputer recognizes that the pedestrian dummy is not a human and therefore sees no reason to perform evasive maneuvers. pic.twitter.com/R1mQqbxIy9— Stultus (@StultusVox) September 20, 2020
This clip appears to be part of some test event in China, similar to testing that has been conducted in the U.S. In fact, we’ve seen very similar grimly hilarious videos from AAA’s tests of many car’s automatic emergency braking systems late last year:
1/ AAA put out a report/study on the effectiveness of various pedestrian detection avoidance systems. Let's start off with some good ol' fashioned FUD: pic.twitter.com/PAslQsqQta— ben k (@Benshooter) October 10, 2019
It’s worth noting that in the AAA tests, Tesla wasn’t the only carmaker to have some dramatically sub-stellar performance for automatic braking. None of the systems were even close to being 100 per cent effective, so there were plenty of embarrassing photos and videos to go around, like this one of a Honda rapidly disassembling the walking test robot:
The full report is here and should be pretty sobering for any driver that believes they can really rely heavily on the automatic braking systems, because, well, that does not seem like a good idea. Here’s a good short summary paragraph from the report:
When evaluated at 48 km/h, all test vehicles failed to significantly mitigate the impact speed on a consistent basis. This test scenario demonstrates that evaluated pedestrian detection systems struggle when approaching more than one pedestrian in a parallel direction alongside the roadway.
On average, all evaluated pedestrian detection systems were significantly challenged and struggled to consistently mitigate or prevent collisions with pedestrian targets during scenarios described in Sections 7.2.1 through 7.2.3. These findings are largely consistent with system limitations described within the owner’s manual of each test vehicle. As such, drivers are strongly urged to familiarise themselves with proper operation and limitations of any ADAS features present within their vehicle.
We all know that 48 km/h is hardly fast and is often a speed many drivers reach even in areas with many pedestrians. For the moment, the best pedestrian collision avoidance hardware your car is likely to have is your Mark 1 Eyeball, ideally a pair of them.
Those walking robots, though, they’re really very clever and have come a long way from the simple mannequins pulled on wheels by ropes used a few years ago.
What makes these cool is that all of the complicated walking hardware is in the “skateboard” they “walk” on, and they’re designed to break apart on impact and to be easily re-assembled. Here’s a video from a few years back that shows them in more detail:
I bet you could make some money by getting like 20 of these and a parking lot and letting people just drive into them and play out their zombie apocalypse fantasies.