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S85D emergency braking and avoidance maneuver (dashcam video)

rpc364

Member
Feb 10, 2015
40
66
Northern California
S85D vs. pigs: emergency braking and avoidance maneuver (dashcam video)

The story: Was lazily driving down a completely dark farm-to-market road at highway speeds in Texas late one night. Admittedly not in my most cognitively alert state. Despite my high beams, I was startled by these pitch black feral pigs (3 or 4?) in the middle of my lane. Not sure how I was able to recognize and react before they are even really visible in the video - the instinctual brain, its vision processing system, and the unfiltered voice (pardon my French in the video) were not coupled to any conscious thought process. It has rained that evening, so the road was slick. All I can say is I mashed the brake as hard as I possibly could and instinctively swerved to the other lane to try and miss them. Things then switched to slow motion in my head. As I born down on the pigs, I distinctly remember hearing my dad tell me many times that pigs are especially dangerous to hit on the highway because they get under the car and can cause it to go airborne. I remember hearing the ABS active and the precise response of the vehicle to my steering inputs - which I can only surmise were assisted by the stability control considering the slick highway. The less Darwinian evolved pig bolted to the lane I was trying to escape to, and my stomach sank as my brain quickly assessed there would not be enough distance to stop, and I was going to have to deal with a 4 month old Tesla with pig impact damage to the front. Amazingly, the car seemed to find an extra "braking gear" in the final feet and stopped basically a hair length away from the scrambling pig (who couldn't even keep his/her traction on the slick road).

As I collected myself in the subsequent seconds stopped on the road having escaped any damage, I realized how fortunate I was to have at my disposal the amazing braking/handling performance of this vehicle. In later thoughts, I ruminated on why my Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system (set on "early") hadn't triggered - and subsequently Tweeted this video to Elon with a suggestion for a "Ludicrously Early" setting for FCW with the acknowledgement that I would gladly accept some FCW false positives to avoid this high risk false negative. I got no response from Elon. :(

https://youtu.be/MmaDVRCH_gU
 
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Saghost

Well-Known Member
Oct 9, 2013
8,217
7,010
Delaware
Wow. Glad you made it out okay. It looks to me like you did end up pushing the pig a few feet. More disturbingly, at the point you start panicking, I can't see a thing on the video - which I suppose means my odds of avoiding it the way you did aren't great.

Car radars that are comparable to the Model S (possibly the one they have, I don't think we know for sure which one they use) can see human sized organics at ~200m in a 90 cone around the nose - so maybe in the future the autopilot will steer/brake to avoid deer and pigs based on that.
Walter
 

Rockster

Active Member
Oct 22, 2013
3,010
4,614
McKinney, TX
Wow! Congratulations on your reflexes and on your superb choice of vehicles!

It reminds me of my time at a U.S. defense contractor when I heard the story of a feral pig that had just run onto a runway as one of our fighter aircraft was landing. The pig sheared the landing gear off and the pilot had to eject to save himself and watch helplessly as the multi million dollar aircraft destroyed itself.
 

rpc364

Member
Feb 10, 2015
40
66
Northern California
That's some pretty impressive braking assuming your dash cam speed is accurate, especially if wet. What tires are you running and how new are they?

The dashcam speed is accurate. I was going roughly 60 mph - having made the conscious choice to drive slower than I normally would with the rain-slickened highway and the dark conditions. I was running the stock 19" Michelin tires that came with the 2015 85D. They had probably around 14,000 miles on them at this point (and were rotated at 8000 miles). I had done plenty of launches at this point in the car but never a max braking exercise, so this was a first. It was quite impressive on many levels for not only the slick conditions but also controlling the steering input while max braking. With passengers/cargo, this car weighed north of 5000 lbs too. My only disappointment would be the whiff by the Forward Collision Warning system - something that it would seem designed for here.
 

efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,421
666
Nixa, Missouri, United States
Good reflexes, the second time through I caught that subtle reflection off of one of the pigs and would like to think it would have been enough to get me to react, but it wouldn't have taken much of a glance off the road for that to have ended in a blood mess.
 

rpc364

Member
Feb 10, 2015
40
66
Northern California
Car radars that are comparable to the Model S (possibly the one they have, I don't think we know for sure which one they use) can see human sized organics at ~200m in a 90 cone around the nose - so maybe in the future the autopilot will steer/brake to avoid deer and pigs based on that.
Walter
An interesting data point. I should say that 3 adult feral pigs would represent at least the surface area of a human. Was wondering if it was a reflectivity issue, but it sounds like the radar world has it categorized as an organic. I sure hope that they can tap the ability to recognize and alert to these kinds of hazards for those of us that drive farm-to-market roads on occasion...
 

MsElectric

Active Member
Oct 11, 2014
1,604
18
New York
Glad you are safe. Agree that this would be a great scenario for FCW and braking to assist in avoiding an accident...

The radar should have picked up the organic mass ahead of you... Seems what the radar FCW lacked, the car made up for with great stability and braking!
 

S4WRXTTCS

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
5,464
6,219
Snohomish, WA
Hmm, an 85D owner acting with prudence

Not exactly surprised. :)

But, seriously I doubt the car even sensed the pig. Hell from the video I'm not even sure how you sensed the pig. You say it in the video before it's even visible. I also don't know if emergency braking comes on when you're already braking with maximum braking force. It seems a bit redundant, and it would be a distraction.

Machine Vision: 0
Humans: 1
 
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rpc364

Member
Feb 10, 2015
40
66
Northern California
Are you certain the automatic collision avoidance braking didn't come on?
My experience is that the FCW (the three beeps) is the first line of defense in the safety systems, and that is what I would have wanted to help me in this case. It didn't alert me, and I'm certain I was the one that initiated the braking/steering. After I mashed on the brake, the car went all-ABS on me (thankfully), and I dove to the left to avoid the imminent collision in my lane, all the "collision avoidance systems" for the situation were in play. There will be a day and situation where the car will make better control decisions than me in an emergency situation, but it wasn't on this day (night)!
 

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