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When it first came out, Elon Musk stopped just short of calling the Autopilot feature perfectly capable of turning the Tesla Model S into an autonomous vehicle on the highways. Or maybe he didn’t even stop at all, it’s hard to recall given how many bolstering claims Tesla’s CEO makes every week, so we lose track of them.

The thing is that people quickly took to testing this new ability of their car and worrying videos of some of them leaving the driver’s seat while doing pretty high speeds started to show up on the internet. Tesla had to react and so it introduced some limitations to the Autopilot (like having to keep your hands on the wheel), but it still remained a pretty advanced cruise control feature.

A few months later, people aren’t testing the Autopilot, they’re using it as it was intended: they allow the car to drive itself whenever they’re too bored to be bothered with the tedious highway traffic. Like this gentleman right here, identified as Emil Melgaard on Reddit, who tells a story about his trip to a ski resort in the Austrian Alps.

According to his story, he was traveling on the A7 Autobahn heading for Bad Gastein when he encountered one of the many roadworks sections that are scattered across the impressive German highway network. Some people would deactivate the Autopilot and cruise the Model S manually through these narrower sections, but there was no traffic and the car seemed to do a very good job, so Emil didn’t feel it was necessary. Besides, the Autopilot doesn’t come with a disclaimer saying it should be deactivated whenever roadworks are encountered.

It all went well until the markings on the asphalt became a little erratic. Emil says that the road was fenced by a concrete barrier on the left, with tiny plastic reflectors sticking out (the image might be flipped because it shows the barrier on the right-hand side). The yellow line (temporary marking) running along it wasn’t as straight as the barrier itself, so when the lane suddenly got narrower after a wider section, the car swerved to the left to prevent it from crossing the line on the right. In doing so, it clipped the reflectors on the barrier, resulting in some nasty dents and scratches in the car’s left-side panels.

Emil insists there was no other car in the right lane, so the Model S could have afforded to cross the marking without the risk of a collision. On the other hand, it is very possible that the Tesla’s ultrasonic sensors couldn’t pick-up the small reflectors, particularly at speed, which might point out to a flaw in the compatibility between the current infrastructure and our autonomous-wannabe cars. Either way, Emil says he has contacted Tesla about the situation but hasn’t received an answer yet.
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