New Video: Is Tesla Autopilot Safe?

The media went haywire over a recent government report on crashes involving Level 2 driving technologies like Tesla’s autopilot.

I took a deep dive into the report to see what was (and was not) in it.

The report covered 392 incidents and said Tesla’s vehicles were involved in 273 of them. By comparison there were an estimated 6.7 million car accidents and almost 43,000 highway deaths nationwide during the period of time the report covers.

Having used this technology for the past four years I believe it is safer when used appropriately. Tesla’s own data backs that up.

About half of the report’s narrative is spent telling readers how inclusive the data is. This includes the fact that the only cars that actually report telematics data on crashes are Tesla’s. So for other brands the driver would have to explicitly report that the car was under automated control to a police officer or the government. Tesla is also shipping far more cars with this technology than any other automotive brand.

But that didn’t stop the media from jumping to conclusions as I spell out in my latest Weekly Wrapup video. I also give a short demo of Tesla’s full self driving in action.

Incidentally the same radar cruise and lane keeping technology that Tesla started with was installed in many other cars but those manufacturers dialed it back out of fear of government regulators.

It’s astounding that with only 392 incidents to investigate the government report does not indicate who was at fault in these accidents.

Tesla isn’t guilt-free in this either – as I point out in the video they didn’t counter-message against influencers who were using the system inappropriately beyond what it was designed to do. The name autopilot also suggests a capability that goes beyond what it could actually do. This was especially true with their first generation technology that relied on radars that don’t detect stationary objects at highway speeds.

Interesting Nugget from the NHTSA Report on Automated Driving

The National Highway Transportation Safety Agency (NHTSA) put out a much talked about study on crashes involving cars equipped with driver assist and self driving automation technologies. One of the reports shows that an Apple vehicle was involved with an accident over the time period the report looked at:

Apple has long been rumored to be developing a vehicle of its own. Surprising that nobody seems to be talking about this item in the NHTSA report.