It doesn’t look like a major crash until you see the Model 3 skid and save itself.
This Tesla Model 3 was just barely sideswiped by a Jeep. The Model 3 avoided the brunt of the impact due to Autopilot. The system saved the vehicle from losing control too. Watch videos of the event from several angles right here.
At first glance, the crash seems quite minor. The mud-covered Jeep seems to have an issue with staying in the lane and it comes over and seemingly just taps the Model 3. However, upon closer inspection of all of the footage, we see that it could’ve been quite a major wreck.
Allow us to explain. Where the Jeep contacts the Model 3 is in the rear quarter panel. This is basically the same area that’s targeted in a PIT maneuver, which is described in detail (via Wikipedia) below:
The PIT maneuver (pursuit intervention technique), or TVI (tactical vehicle intervention) is a pursuit tactic by which a pursuing car can force a fleeing car to turn sideways abruptly, causing the driver to lose control and stop.
The PIT begins when the pursuing vehicle pulls alongside the fleeing vehicle so that the portion of the pursuer’s vehicle forward of the front wheels is aligned with the portion of the target vehicle behind the back wheels. The pursuer gently makes contact with the target’s side, then steers sharply into the target. The pursuer must also accelerate or its bumper will slide off of the target vehicle. As soon as the fleeing vehicle’s rear tires lose traction and start to skid, the pursuer continues to turn in the same direction until clear of the target. This is more of a committed lane change than an actual turn. The target will turn in the opposite direction, in front of the pursuer, and will spin out. The PIT may be done from either side, but consideration must be given to where both cars will end up. Typically, another police car will tail the PIT unit to proceed with the arrest, while the PIT unit recovers its own control and completely stops the car. The PIT does not immobilize the suspect vehicle and to prevent further flight, two police cars need to pin the suspect between them, front and rear.
Had the Model 3’s Autopilot system not reacted to the Jeep that was veering towards it, then a full-on PIT maneuver and the associated consequences from this would’ve likely occurred.
Furthermore, you’ll see the Tesla begin a skid, but the car’s traction control system (and some other systems, most likely) step in and regain control of the car.
In the end, it’s just a minor bump, but it could’ve been much worse had Autopilot not made the initial move to avoid the Jeep.
See it from other angles below:
Video description via Paul Mystakidis on YouTube:
We were cut off today using autopilot – without the safety features of the Model 3 we were driving, I’m not sure we would have walked away without a scratch! We were doing 75 miles/hr.
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