Accidents involving Tesla electric cars on autopilot have become so frequent that they have attracted the attention of the US government. The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency NHTSA has launched an investigation into the causes of the accidents, according to the Carscoops website.
In 2021-2022, 273 accidents involving Tesla on autopilot were recorded. This indicator is much higher than that of cars of other brands equipped with similar systems.
The interim results of the investigation have already been published in the NHTSA report – it contains statistics of accidents involving completely unmanned cars, as well as cars traveling on autopilot. The data is taken for 2021-2022 because it was last year that the agency obliged all automakers to provide information about accidents involving cars in autopilot mode.
In total, 392 such accidents were recorded, 116 of them involving other cars, pedestrians were injured in three, and a cyclist in one. Deaths or serious injuries were noted in 11 accidents out of 98 analyzed (while statistics are incomplete). It is also noted that 125 accidents occurred in California.
For Tesla, the NHTSA information turned out to be bleak. The fact is that 273 accidents occur precisely on American brand cars. Honda is in second place with a big gap (90 accidents), and Subaru is in third place – 10. Ford has 5 accidents, Toyota has 4, and General Motors has 2.
Separately, we studied the accident statistics of cars with full-fledged autopilot-test prototypes, as well as the first unmanned taxis. There were 130 such accidents, and almost half of them are accounted for by Google’s Waymo drones.
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The NHTSA notes that many accidents involving the Tesla autopilot may be due to the fact that it is already installed on 825,970 electric cars, whereas, for example, the General Motors Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system costs only 34,000 cars. On the other hand, 560 thousand cars are equipped with Nissan ProPilot technology and not a single accident involving it has been noted.
In addition, the NHTSA found that in a number of accidents, the Tesla autopilot was turned off literally a second before the collision. These facts require additional study. They can not only spoil Tesla’s statistics even more but also cast doubt on the reliability of a system that shuts down in an extreme situation.