Tesla Tops Autonomous ADAS Crash Table

Pressure is mounting on the safety record of Tesla’s Autopilot cruise control software with 273 reported crashes with the systems engaged in the US since July last year, according to regulators.

IoT World Today reports the data was revealed following the publication by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after research into crashes with cars equipped with Level 2 and Level 3 and upwards. Tesla’s Level 2 system’s crash record made up 69.6% of the total of 392 recorded accidents across all manufacturers with Honda in second place with 90 accidents and Subaru in third with just 10.

That said, data does not take into account the number of Tesla vehicles with the tech on the road or the total miles traveled, both likely to be greater than for rival firms owing to the Autopilot feature being a standard feature on the company’s cars. Automakers that offer Level 2/3 autonomy as an option are seeing a lower take-up from consumers.

As such, NHTSA administrator Steven Cliff cautioned against jumping to assumptions the Tesla system is more flawed that others, telling reporters: “I would advise caution before attempting to draw conclusions based only on the data we’re releasing. In fact, the data alone may raise more questions than they answer.”

Among other findings of the ADAS data were that California was by far the most likely state for an accident to occur, a state where many automotive technologies are developed and tested, and that six fatalities were recorded in the 392 crashes. In the category involving automated systems, there were 130 crashes, with Waymo in 62 of them. Shuttle operator Transdev was next with 32, while General Motors’ Cruise reported 23.

While no definitive conclusions can yet be drawn from the data, many motoring experts have pointed to Tesla’s use of ‘autopilot’ instilling too much confidence in the autonomous capabilities of its adaptive cruise control compared to other automakers.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


2 comments

  1. Avatar Steve 20th June 2022 @ 10:16 pm

    Tesla produced 70% of the EVs sold in the US in 2021, and 79% of the EVs sold in 2020. Prior to 2020, their market share would be even higher. Teslas representing 70% of the accidents involving Level 2 and 3 systems is exactly what I would expect, statistically.

    • TU-Editor TU-Editor 21st June 2022 @ 7:32 am

      Of course, statistics can be used to ‘prove’ just about anything. The concerning message here, though, is the false sense of security the nomenclature of phrases like Autopilot can instill. I have driven several high-end adaptive cruise control systems, including Tesla’s, and have seen them get fooled by the simplest of scenarios. ADAS is there to reduce accidents and yet, in certain circumstances illustrated by organizations like Thatcham Research, it can still cause them.

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