Tesla has released the results of its Q1 2019 Vehicle Safety Report. The findings are similar to the last quarter with one accident per 2.87 million miles driven when Autopilot is engaged and one accident every 1.76 million miles driven without the feature.
The most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows one crash every 436,000 miles with all vehicles considered in comparison. Tesla’s statistics also include “near misses” vs. only transpired accidents in the NHTSA numbers.
Each quarter since Q3 2018, Tesla has released safety data to provide critical information about its vehicles, namely those engaging its Autopilot program. Safety enhancements and new features are frequently released in over-the-air updates, and the connected data received during vehicle use guide these improvements.
Tesla’s official statement on the release of its Q1 2019 safety data is as follows:
“In the 1st quarter, we registered one accident for every 2.87 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot engaged. For those driving without Autopilot, we registered one accident for every 1.76 million miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 436,000 miles.”
The numbers released in Tesla’s Q4 2018 Vehicle Safety Report showed one accident per 2.91M miles with Autopilot and one per 1.58M without the feature. Quarterly statistics are not released by the NHTSA, making any determination for the slight rise in noted incidents fairly speculative. Winter conditions could be partially to blame as could the increase in Tesla vehicles on the road overall. As Autopilot continues its march to Full Self-Driving capability, the corresponding safety data will likely paint a better picture for consideration.
Tesla vehicles already have a well-established reputation for safety thanks to their all-electric design that includes ultra-high-strength steel and aluminum. The Model S set a new NHTSA vehicle safety record with 5 stars across every subcategory shortly after its release, and the Model S, Model 3, and Model X all stand among the NHTSA’s vehicles with the lowest probability of injury during accidents.
A recent study by MIT using data from the over 1 billion miles driven by Tesla owners since its activation in 2015 found that drivers using Autopilot were highly engaged while using the feature despite fears to the contrary. The semi-autonomous system was engaged for about 35% of the time during which time 18,928 disengagements were annotated, indicating drivers taking over during challenging driving situations and demonstrating a high rate of driver vigilance.
The added transparency included with Tesla’s Autopilot crash statistics is simply the latest nod to the company’s commitment to safety as its first vehicle priority.
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