Tue. Feb 7th, 2023

Topline

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released data Wednesday revealing hundreds of car accidents linked to advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS), and unsurprisingly most of the accidents were linked to Tesla’s Autopilot technology that’s come under increased scrutiny.

Key Facts

The agency identified 392 crashes linked to cars using partially autonomous driving technology between July 1 and May 15.

Tesla vehicles accounted for 273, or 69.6%, of the accidents.

Honda cars accounted for 90, or 23%, of the crashes, while all other automakers accounted for 10 or less accidents.

The accidents led to six fatalities.

The agency’s chief Steven Cliff said in a statement this data collection is not comprehensive, but a first step toward improving vehicle safety.

Tesla shares were unaffected by the new data, rising 1.6% in morning trading.

Key Background

The agency opened a broad probe into Tesla Autopilot safety last August, and last week upgraded its investigation of the company into an engineering analysis, which can precede a recall. Some experts have deemed Tesla vehicles lack the proper technology to bring fully autonomous vehicles to the road, and the company’s cars are absent of the LiDAR sensor technology present in most other autonomous vehicles. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has predictably stuck by his company’s technology, tweeting in April Tesla vehicles using Autopilot are “unequivocally safer,” than their counterparts.

Contra

Data provided by Tesla claims its cars using its Autopilot features are safer than others, reporting drivers using Autopilot got in an accident once every 4.31 million miles in the fourth quarter of 2021, far outperforming the NHTSA’s national average of an accident every 484,000 miles.

Further Reading

US releases new driver-assist crash data, and surprise, it’s mostly Tesla (The Verge)

Tesla investigation deepens after more than a dozen US ‘Autopilot’ crashes (Guardian)

U.S. Launches Broad Investigation Into Tesla Autopilot Over Numerous Crashes (Forbes)





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