Tesla’s Vehicle Safety Report reveals drivers on Autopilot are safer from accidents and ‘near-crashes’

Tesla has released Q3 2018’s vehicle safety report, which shares data about accidents and “crash-like events” that happen to its fleet of electric cars on the road. Tesla’s latest figures feature updated numbers for incidents that transpire both with Autopilot engaged and while the driver-assist system is inactive.

Tesla notes that its figures come from a new telemetry stream for its electric cars, which enable the company to gather critical fleet-wide statistics once its system detects a crash-related incident. Based on the data collected over the quarter, Tesla registered one accident or crash-like event for every 3.34 million miles driven while Autopilot is engaged. On the other hand, the company recorded one accident or crash-like event for every 1.92 million miles driven without Autopilot. Recent figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) note that in the United States, there is an automobile crash for every 492,000 miles driven.

It should be noted that Tesla’s numbers include accidents that have occurred and “near-misses,” which the company dubs as a “crash-like event.” The NHTSA’s figures, on the other hand, only include accidents that actually transpired.

While the data that Tesla shared on its first quarterly safety report could be considered quite basic, the company has stated that further initiatives to gather accident data are underway. Among these is the practice of gathering severe injury data from its customers following an accident, which is expected to provide Tesla with a “more complete picture of safety.” Tesla describes this initiative as follows. 

“Given the degree to which accidents can vary in severity and circumstance, we’ve started an additional initiative to create a more complete picture of safety by gathering serious injury data from our customers following an accident. While we have long maintained the practice of calling our customers whenever our system detects a crash in order to see whether they need emergency assistance, we now also use these calls to understand if they sustained an injury in the crash, and if they have feedback on our current safety system. This will help us continue to improve our system and understand the rate of serious injuries over time.”

Tesla also pledged to release its fleet’s accident figures on a quarterly basis moving forward.

The electric car maker’s vehicle safety reports were first teased by Elon Musk on Twitter earlier this year. While responding to an article alleging that Tesla abandoned eye-tracking technology to cut Model 3 costs, Musk asserted that Tesla’s electric cars are the safest vehicles on the road. The CEO noted that while it is impossible to reduce the chances of a fatality to zero, passengers are generally safer in the company’s vehicles. Musk also noted that Tesla would be releasing updated safety numbers every quarter.

Elon Musk’s statements about Tesla’s electric cars are not hyperbole. Over the years, the company’s vehicles have garnered top safety ratings from the NHTSA. The Tesla Model S, for one, literally broke the agency’s crash testing gear when it was being tested for safety. The Model X, on the other hand, was given a full 5-Star safety rating by the NHTSA across all categories and subcategories. This feat was recently shared by the Model 3, which also received a flawless 5-Star safety rating from the agency. .

The release of Tesla’s Q3 2018 vehicle safety report comes amidst the initial rollout of the company’s Software Version 9 update, which is currently being released to advanced early access users. So far, social media posts from Tesla owners who have received V9 note that the update features several notable improvements, from improved blind spot detection to new driver-assist features like Navigate on Autopilot. New Easter Eggs in the form of classic Atari games are also included in the V9 update.

Tesla’s Q3 2018 vehicle safety report can be accessed in full here

Tesla’s Vehicle Safety Report reveals drivers on Autopilot are safer from accidents and ‘near-crashes’
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