It looks like Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s promise that his Full Self-Driving (FSD) cars will be able to detect and react to potholes is close to becoming reality.
Tesla first released the beta version of their self-driving software last week. Since then we have been flooded with videos from testers showing the cars handling interesting and unique situations with ease.
One of the latest bits of information shows just how far Tesla is ahead of the competition, as a Model 3 with the beta software installed was able to detect and map debris on the side of the road.
According to James Locke, former president of Tesla Owners Club Vancouver Island and current Tesla Owners Club LA board member, the broken-off tree branch was clearly visible on the visualization, seen in the images below by a small grey dot.
On our drive today with beta FSD noticed the FSD computer saw and drew some tree debris on the driver’s display. Was very clear on the display in person but this is the best I could get with some still shots.
Didn’t have FSD enabled at the time just TACC. pic.twitter.com/C7CSUm0bVr
— James Locke (@arctechinc) October 26, 2020
In February, Musk said Tesla vehicles in the future would be able to detect and create “micro maps” of road objects, like potholes. Those maps could then be shared with other Tesla vehicles so that when they travel down the same road, they can autonomously avoid the pothole.
In this situation, it appears as though the cameras detected the broken-off tree branch, and clearly mapped it on the visualization. While the car didn’t react to the debris as FSD wasn’t engaged, we are left wondering how far away pothole detection and avoidance really is.
Hopefully we see some creative scenarios from the beta testers where we can see how the vehicles react to unexpected objects in the road. Not including human beings of course, as we already know it can stop quickly if our friend Ryan from The Kilowatts jumps in front of you.
— Tesla Owners Silicon Valley (@teslaownersSV) October 22, 2020