Tesla proves that its cars drive better alone than with a human behind the wheel

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Tesla presents its quarterly report on Autopilot, its semi-autonomous driving system. If the figures are better than last year, the device is still not 100% secure. Especially since these data must be taken with a grain of salt.

If more and more manufacturers are working on developing their own autonomous driving solution, Tesla continues to be one of the most advanced in the field. Although Elon Musk’s firm was surpassed on certain points by Ford with its BlueCruise system, General Motors’ Super Cruise and Mercedes’ Drive Pilot. If Tesla has to face many setbacks with the law, while it is in the crosshairs of American justice, Autopilot continues to improve.

growing numbers

In any case, this is what the manufacturer shows, who has just lifted the veil on his quarterly vehicle safety report, available online. And in general, the numbers are quite good, although they improve year after year. According to the document, there was one accident every 4.85 million miles traveled, that is, approximately 7.81 million kilometers.

A figure that only refers to vehicles that have used level 2 Autopilot technology. For drivers who have not used this function, the manufacturer has recorded an accident for every 1.40 million kilometers traveled, which is equivalent to about 2 25 million kilometers. Tesla compares with official figures from the NHTSA, road safety in the United States, which counts one accident every 652,000 miles (approximately 1.04 million kilometers) for the entire fleet of vehicles.

The figures announced by Tesla are therefore quite encouraging. Of course we notice a small decrease compared to the third quarter of 2022, where an accident was recorded every 6.26 million miles on average with Autopilot (about 10 million kilometers). But when we compare each quarter with that of the previous year (to take weather and light factors into account), we realize that the brand’s semi-autonomous driving system is becoming more efficient.

But be careful, because all these data should not be taken literally. Indeed, and as specified by the American site electric, these still lack precision. For example, Tesla does not distinguish between city and highway traffic and, above all, does not specify the cause of the crashes. The constructor counts all collisions, while 35% of crashes involving Autopilot actually involve Teslas being rear-ended.

To take with tweezers

A problem that could probably be fixed if the manufacturer fixed its phantom braking problem, which turns out to be very dangerous. Furthermore, if accidents with the semi-autonomous driving system are quite rare, it is also because this is mainly used on motorways. And we know that the collision risks are lower than journeys in built-up areas or on roads without a central divider.

In addition, and as we explained in a previous article, Tesla compares its figures with those of the NHTSA, which takes into account all vehicles on the road. Gold, the average age of the US fleet was 12.2 years in 2022, being logically not all cars as technologically advanced as the models of the American brand. The American firm therefore compares data, to tell the truth, not very comparable to its advantage.

However, it’s obvious that Autopilot has performed much better over the years, despite the removal of radar in favor of cameras with the Tesla Vision system. However, it is possible that they will return with the arrival of Hardware 4, which will equip future models of the brand, including the redesigned Model 3. This will mark the arrival of an even more efficient FSD (total autonomous driving) system, while this one occupied headlines after a stunning accident involving a Model S.

At issue is ghost braking, a problem other semi-autonomous car owners run into as well. If autopilot-related safety data is constantly improving, the manufacturer is still under investigation after a fatal accident involving a rescue vehicle. A few months earlier, more than 300,000 brand cars had to be updated because they did not respect the Highway Code. But Tesla offered a remote update in record time to fix these issues.

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