Did a Tesla Really Crash on Autopilot

Tesla is not only the best-selling EV brand in North America—but it also offers one of the most advanced autonomous technologies in the auto industry. Every Tesla vehicle sold comes with its own Autopilot feature that makes it possible to safely drive on its own under the supervision of a driver.

However, Tesla’s Autopilot has been scrutinized several times due to accidents. Do the allegations hold water? And would it be possible for a Tesla to crash on Autopilot? Let’s dig deeper into the investigation.

Could a Tesla crash on Autopilot?

According to NHTSA, 439 Tesla vehicles have been involved in crashes since July 2021 while Autopilot was engaged. In fact, compared to other automakers, Tesla has the most recorded accidents while driving on autonomous technology — but that may be because Tesla has more self-driving vehicles in North America than any other car company. sells.

As a result, Tesla’s Autopilot has been investigated on separate occasions following serious crashes. For example, in 2018, a Tesla Model X crashed while the driver was using Autopilot—according to an NTSB investigation report.

Similarly, another fatal crash on May 12, 2022, involving a Tesla Model S is also suspected to have been caused by Autopilot (via Reuters). The investigation continues to grow, and the NHTSA has opened at least 35 cases involving Tesla’s Autopilot.

In addition, many Tesla drivers using Autopilot have complained of phantom braking – some of them are even suing Tesla. However, crashes involving phantom braking are yet to be reported.

Whose Fault Is It If a Tesla Crashes on Autopilot?

Tesla’s Autopilot is Level 2 autonomous technology. More succinctly, it can automatically brake and apply the brakes, but requires the driver to intervene when the situation calls for it. This means that if you are involved in a car accident, the driver is liable under the law even if the Tesla’s Autopilot was activated.

case in point? National Public Radio reported that a Tesla driver was indicted for causing the crash on Autopilot and causing the death of two people. In addition, investigating a fatal accident involving Tesla’s Autopilot at the wheel, the National Transportation Safety Board clarified that the driver was at fault because he was distracted prior to the accident.

The NTSB also recommends that automakers design systems that monitor drivers using driver assistive technology—if the driver is distracted, the system should trigger an alert.

Following NTSB recommendations, Tesla updated its software to rely on Autopilot to activate in-car monitoring to detect drivers who are inattentive to the road. Tesla’s surveillance system uses cameras to monitor the driver and improve safety.

According to the NTSB, there is not a single car with Level 5 or Level 6 driver automation technology that does not require driver intervention. Even Tesla’s full self-driving beta version is a Level 2 autonomous technology that requires a driver’s input.

Tesla Autopilot Makes It Safer To Drive

Even though accidents can happen when drivers use Tesla’s Autopilot, the driver assistant software makes driving safer. According to the NHTSA, 94% of car accidents in the United States are caused by human error.

In addition, the Tesla Vehicle Safety Report reveals Tesla’s car accident statistics each year, including accidents that occurred when drivers were using Autopilot technology.

In its latest Q4 2021 data, Tesla reported that one accident occurred after every 1.59 million miles when Autopilot was deactivated. However, when Autopilot was on, only one car accident occurred after every 4.31 million miles.

Improve safety by staying alert when autopilot is engaged

Until Level 5 self-driving becomes a reality, you must pay attention to the road, even if you’re using Autopilot. If Tesla’s Autopilot is slow to respond to a potential hazard, you can manually control the steering wheel – or if it disengages, you can take control faster.

In short, Tesla’s Autopilot isn’t perfect, but it’s safe to use as long as you’re paying attention to the road.

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