Autopilot responsible for most crashes

Tesla cars cause the most accidents, according to a report by the American NHTSA. However, we must take the information with a minimum of hindsight.

The NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration), the American equivalent of Highway Safety, has given its verdict on accidents caused by autonomous driving systems in circulation in the United States. The finding is, at first glance, hardly flattering for Tesla. It turns out that the brand’s vehicles are responsible for the largest share of accidents.

The FSD is doing much better

However, it is necessary to delve into the details of the study which should be nuanced. The administration specifies that the figures are gross and that they are not weighted by the number of vehicles in circulation. In other words, if Tesla cars weigh heavily in this assessment of accidents caused by autonomous driving, it is also because they are the most numerous on the roads.

Despite everything, the lessons of this report are no less interesting. Thus, the level 2 system of Tesla cars (the famous Autopilot) is the one that causes the most accidents. Autonomous driving has five levels, five being “real” driverless driving. Previous tiers require a human driver to be behind the wheel.

With regard to level 2, it allows a vehicle to stay in the lane, to detect pedestrians, or even to dynamically regulate the speed. The NHTSA counted 392 incidents and accidents caused by level 2 driving over a year, including 273 for Tesla models.

More pleasing for the American manufacturer, the FSD software which seeks to reach level 5 was responsible for only one accident, against 62 for the equivalent technology at Waymo, or 34 at Transdev. The FSD is currently in beta and distributed piecemeal, but this result is encouraging.

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