Tesla autopilot detects mountain lion running across road (video)

Townsend, Montana, USA: This short video neatly sums up a lot about the relationship between America’s mountain lion (puma, cougar) and people.

Tesla autopilot avoids puma running across road in Montana
Tesla autopilot avoids puma running across road in Montana
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This iconic wild cat, which is so closely associated with America (but which is found in all the Americas), was eradicated from the entire eastern half of the U.S. because it was at one time considered a pest and hunted in large numbers. Then there came urbanisation and more settlement which squeezed the cat from its range.

So we see this mountain lion in Montana, a state sparsely inhabited by people which allows the puma to live a pretty normal life except for the major highways that crisscross this beautiful place.

Note: videos on this site are typically made by people other than me and held on YouTube servers or the servers of other businesses (not the server storing this website). Sometimes the videos are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened I apologise but I have no control over it.

These roads are dangerous to mountain lions and they carve up their territory. In this video we can glimpse what might have happened if the car was not a Tesla. Bravo Elon Musk! The car momentarily brakes because the car’s autopilot sensors detected the cat coming rapidly from the left. You can see the car slow down and then pick up speed after the cat has crossed the road.

It happened on the road to Townsend, Montana. The video appears to have been made by the car’s inbuilt camcorder or dashcam. The video has a magical quality for me. It is a meeting of advanced human technology and the wild of America. I love them both but I love the wild more.

It is not hard to find internet stories of mountain lions killed on the road. It happens all the time especially in Florida which is relatively densely populated causing more roads and more accidents which kill pumas. I believe the highest cause of puma mortality in Florida is road traffic.

Roads are anti-conservation. They fragment the habitats of wild species. They invade the wild places. They bring more people, more activity and more commerce and as a consequence an environment which is less comfortable for pumas.

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