While Tesla’s self-driving cars have been called the future of automobiles, many have been concerned about whether they truly are accident-proof. We break down the current statistics on how many Tesla autopilot crashes there have been.
Driverless Tesla vehicles may be all the rage, but would you truly be comfortable being driven around in one? A major concern for potential buyers is whether or not such cars will crash despite the autopilot feature being engaged. While tech puritans will tell you to trust the machine, there’s no doubt that there are some valid concerns you should address before buying a self-driving Tesla.
We break down all the questions you may have in this post.
What does ‘self-driving’ mean?
A self-driving car or driverless car – is one that uses a sophisticated system of sensors to move and assist a driver in navigation. Ideally, a ‘driverless’ car will need very little human input. Tesla, Waymo, Cruise, and Alphabet Inc are some of the companies that are developing self-driving cars.
In reality, the term ‘self-driving’ is a misnomer, as no car has reached enough sophistication to be completely autonomous. Tesla hopes to achieve some level of autonomous vehicles by 2025.
What are the features of Tesla’s Autopilot System?
Tesla’s current Autopilot features include:
- Navigation Assistance: The system will suggest when to change lanes, optimize routes, and how to avoid traffic.
- Autosteering: The car’s system will use advanced sensors and cameras to help you steer, accelerate, and brake automatically.
- Smart Summon: Helps you navigate closed and complex spaces like parking lots
However, Tesla clarifies that all these features are meant to assist the driver – it does not make the vehicle autonomous. Tesla will continue to update the systems with new software that makes incremental changes to the ‘self-driving’ capability.
Are all Teslas self-driving?
Not all Tesla models are self-driving – it is available as an add-on option on certain models. The software for “full self-driving” is also in Beta testing, which means it will be a while before it is available in other models. The Tesla models that offer Autopilot features include the Model 3, Model S, Model X, and Model Y.
What level of automation do Tesla cars have?
Currently, all Tesla cars are at Level 2 automation – which means they are only partially automated. It requires the driver to remain attentive and engaged on the road, while the car’s system provides continuous monitoring and assistance for acceleration, braking, steering, and more.
How many Tesla crashes have there been?
The Tesla Vehicle Safety Report tries to quantify how many accidents have occurred every quarter with the autopilot engaged. However, it doesn’t provide exact numbers and uses the distance driven per quarter as a measure.
For example, in 2018 it reported an average of one crash for every 3.1 million miles driven by Tesla users. This was significantly less than what the National Highway Transport Administration (NHTA) recorded for regular automobiles – one accident for every 492,000 miles. Since then, Tesla has reported fewer crashes per million miles:
- 2018: 1 accident per 3.1 million miles
- 2019: 1 accident per 3.38 million milles
- 2020: 1 accident per 4.31 million miles
- 2021: 1 accident per 4.47 million miles
As you can see, the average distance traveled by Tesla cars between accidents has been increasing, meaning they’re only becoming safer. In comparison, the NHTA reports one regular accident for every 484,000 miles, which isn’t much of a change in the last 5 years.
Do Teslas get in fewer crashes than other self-driving cars?
Tesla has been committed to maintaining a high standard of safety and continues to update accident information every quarter. It is still too early to tell if any particular company is safer than Tesla. However, what Tesla can do is take a leaf out of Mercedes’ playbook, which recently announced they would take full legal responsibility when their Drive Pilot is engaged. Nothing says your product is safe and crash-proof than the fact that you’re willing to bet a lawsuit over it!