Modern vehicles across the board are beginning to advertise hazard recognition and collision prevention technology, assisting the driver by slamming on the brakes if something – or someone – steps in the way. At the forefront of this technology has been Tesla, a manufacturer that has built its brand on having cutting-edge technology in electric vehicles.
But how far do these technologies go? By now, we know they are relatively brilliant at stopping you from driving into a wall or another car, but will they stop you from hitting a pedestrian every time? What about household pets, like a medium-sized dog or even a cat? A YouTuber from the car comparison site carwow put them to the test.
Watch below as Mat Watson drives around a track and hurtles towards various (non-living) obstacles, including a life-sized Elon Musk cardboard cutout, a stuffed kangaroo, and a taxidermy cat, to see if the Tesla Model 3 and Volvo V90 will mercilessly crush them. Both cars come equipped with auto emergency brake systems that are supposedly best-in-class, so let's find out just how good they are.
Tesla auto emergency braking works by a camera pointed forward, analyzing any obstacles that may enter your path, while a radar system continuously scans the road ahead and an integrated algorithm makes decisions on whether the brakes need to be applied. However, as of May 2021, Teslas in North America are no longer equipped with radar and have transitioned to "Tesla Vision", which just uses cameras and neural networks to identify hazards. It is unclear whether the Model 3 has full Tesla Vision, as it is a '71 plate (September 2021 onwards) but is a delivery for the UK, which may be on alternative timelines to their North American counterparts.
As you can see from the video, both cars performed relatively well. Both the Tesla and the Volvo successfully broke without crashing into the car and also avoided a collision with Tesla Founder Musk.
Next came some more unlikely obstacles. First in line was a stuffed kangaroo – an important consideration if you are an animal-conscious Australian, it also represents large animals, which is something Musk has talked about Teslas being capable of avoiding. The Model 3 once again avoids it, but the Volvo cares not for wildlife and destroys it. This is relatively worrying for the safety of the car, as the kangaroo is about the size of a child, which is an important obstacle to identify.
It’s all downhill from there, and both the Tesla and the Volvo flatten a Labrador-sized stuffed animal and a taxidermy cat without even a consideration.
So, there is your answer: if you’re hoping the next vehicle you buy can avoid pets that wander into the road, unfortunately, the technology just isn’t there yet.