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Driver using Tesla’s autopilot narrowly avoids being mowed down by truck on Las Vegas highway

A Tesla motorist who was driving on autopilot last week in Las Vegas shows how the autonomous vehicle managed to avoid an accident just when it appeared it was about to collide with a truck.

‘I was on Tesla autopilot driving home overtaking a truck,’ the driver told ViralHog of his trip on September 1.

The driver was in a 2018 Long Range rear-wheel drive sedan that has an ‘upgraded chip for eventual full self-driving.’

In the video, a truck is seen swerving into the Tesla driver’s lane.

‘The next events happened very quickly, but I am pretty sure the vehicle jerked initially to the left.

‘Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the truck nearing my car and heard it slamming on and locking up its brakes,’ the driver said.

‘From there you can see me swerving a little too quick check the lanes for another vehicle and get back to my lane before just overtaking to get away.’

The driver added: ‘Without the autopilot avoiding the collision initially, there was no way I could have cleared the left lane fast enough to swerve safely to stop an accident.’

There was no damage to either vehicle. The footage was captured by video mounted onto the car.

In July, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk said that his company is ‘very close’ to achieving complete autonomous driving technology.

‘I’m extremely confident that level 5 or essentially complete autonomy will happen and I think will happen very quickly,’ Musk said in remarks made via a video message at the opening of Shanghai’s annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference on July 9.

‘I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level 5 autonomy complete this year.’

Tesla is also developing new heat-projection or cooling systems to enable more advanced computers in cars, Musk said. 

Tesla, other automakers and tech companies, including Alphabet-owned Waymo and app-based ride share company Uber, are investing billions in the autonomous driving industry.

However industry insiders have said it would take time for the technology to get ready and public to trust autonomous vehicles fully.

The California-based Tesla currently builds cars with an Autopilot driver-assistance system, which still requires some human input.

Some customers, however, have reported malfunctions with the technology. 

A federal probe was started after a 12th Tesla crash in December was believed to be tied to the auto pilot system. The technology at the time was suspected in four fatal accidents.

The most recent deadly crash happened in March 2019 in Delray, Florida, when driver Jeremy Banner’s 2018 Tesla Model 3 slammed into a semi-truck, killing the 50-year-old driver.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators said Banner turned on the Autopilot feature about 10 seconds before the crash, and the Autopilot did not execute any evasive maneuvers to avoid the collision.

The three other fatal crashes date back to 2016.

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