Tesla finished in second place in J.D. Power’s Tech Experience Index Study, which analyzes a car company’s technologies based on convenience, emerging automation, energy and sustainability, and infotainment and connectivity.
Tesla managed to accrue 593 points out of a possible 1,000, finishing in second-place behind Swedish luxury brand Volvo, who scored 617 points.
Interestingly enough, Tesla, while not officially included in the survey because it did not grant J.D. Power permission to survey owners in 15 states, has established itself as the leader in sustainable transportation. Additionally, its technologies are convenient based on its lack of outdated knobs and buttons, its automation through its Autopilot of Full Self-Driving suite has earned it a reputation for being 9.5 times safer than a human driver, and other automakers have adopted its infotainment and connectivity.
Despite all of this, Tesla still finished behind Volvo. The Swedish company has put a heavy focus on its Pilot Assist features, which aim to improve the safety of travel. The characteristic uses a lane’s side markings to assist drivers in staying within their lane.
However, Tesla’s increasingly advanced Autopilot and FSD suite may have hindered the company’s performance in the survey.
According to a report from Cars.com, many drivers still do not wholly trust self-driving technologies. This includes Tesla’s Autopilot, which has recorded an accident every 4.53 million miles driven in the second quarter of 2020. The figure is Tesla’s second safest quarter ever recorded, only trailing Q1 2020 for the top spot. The national average from the NHTSA states that an automotive accident occurs once every 479,000 miles.
If it was possible for a safe driving program to hurt a company’s performance in a survey, J.D. Power has found a way for it to happen. Even though Tesla’s accident statistics speak for themselves, the company’s notoriety as the leader in semi-autonomous driving capabilities may have kept it from overtaking Volvo for the first place spot.
J.D. Power said in a statement that self-driving features are a “necessary step to achieve higher levels of automated driving,” and that “there is wide variation in the execution strategy across brands for how the technology works and when or why it engages.”
While this is true, no company has been able to improve its self-driving characteristics as Tesla has. The company is close to completing its FSD suite, as the release of automatic driving on city streets is imminent. Additionally, CEO Elon Musk indicated that Dojo, a Neural Network computer that will process vast amounts of video data. Dojo will be a crucial part of Tesla’s improvement in Autopilot’s performance, especially as the company tries to transition to a 4-dimensional self-driving infrastructure in an estimated 6-10 weeks.