NHTSA: Tesla Autopilot accounts for 70% of ADAS crashes. Why this may mislead consumers and cause confusion

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla preventing a crash
Nigel McGill/YouTube

You may see headlines state that Teslas were involved in nearly 70 percent of advanced vehicle technology crashes, however this statistic doesn't paint an accurate picture.

The U.S. Department of Transportation released the initial data it has collected since the agency advised more than 100 automakers to report collisions related to automated driver-assist systems.

Of the 392 crashes submitted to the NHTSA, Tesla had the largest amount of incidents, with Honda coming in second.

Tesla: 273

Honda: 90

Subaru: 10

Other: 19

The other 19 incidents are divided between nine manufacturers.

NHTSA is saying that this data shouldn't be used to make any conclusions on the safety of these systems.

The data provided by NHTSA lacks context, such as the number of vehicles equipped with the system, the number of miles driven, or how individuals are using the system.

While Tesla has the most incidents, Tesla's Autopilot is very actively used. Autopilot is likely used more than 3x than Honda's system, which would instantly change the takeaway people are getting out of this report.

This data also doesn't show how these systems are preventing accidents. Autopilot is a much more advanced system than those available on other vehicles, so while it was involved in more accidents, it also prevented additional accidents.

Tesla runs Autopilot safety systems passively in the background. It's ready to hit the brakes or even move out of the way of a vehicle to help avoid an accident.

I'd encourage Tesla to follow up on NHTSA's report with exact figures of how many vehicles have Autopilot, how many miles have been traveled, and how many times Autopilot has moved within its lane to avoid potential accidents.

The video below shows many of these situations where Autopilot has prevented collisions.

What NHTSA is trying to find out is whether these systems are safe. However, without proper context and additional information, NHTSA is adding confusion about the capabilities of Autopilot.

In a day and age where consumers read headlines and not articles, this report is causing more harm than good.

Due to this report, two senators are now calling on NHTSA to take further action. Senator Ed Markey said, "we are seeing a never-ending parade of reports about Autopilot operating in ways that skirt our safety laws and endanger the public, from rolling through stop signs and phantom breaking. Tesla has argued Autopilot makes us safer, but this report provides further evidence slamming the breaks on those claims."

This report comes just one week after NHTSA upgraded its probe into Tesla's Autopilot. The initial investigation started after a dozen crashes involving Teslas and parked emergency vehicles.

In fact, the agency has 35 active crash investigations where Autopilot is believed to have been used. Several news agencies reported they reached out to Tesla but did not receive a comment on the report.

It's likely the company predicted it would have higher numbers, due to the large number of miles driven with Autopilot.

ADAS, which stands for advanced driver assistance systems, includes driver assistant systems for steering and speed and provides traffic-aware cruise control. Tesla is a frontrunner in this technology and has 830,000 of these vehicles on the road in the U.S. Tesla also has far more advanced crash reports, which is lacking in other automakers.

NHTSA calls this report a first of its kind and plans to release the data monthly. Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA's Administrator, said, "new vehicle technologies have the potential to help prevent crashes, reduce crash severity, and save lives, and the Department is interested in fostering technologies that are proven to do so; collecting this data is an important step in that effort. As we gather more data, NHTSA will be able to better identify any emerging risks or trends and learn more about how these technologies are performing in the real world."

The report is admittedly not comprehensive. The NHTSA admits it lacked data to provide immediate information from all automakers. It also stated that some companies were more "robust" with data because their vehicles are equipped with telematics (Tesla). In contrast, several other manufacturers do not have telematics capabilities.

Elon says Tesla's single stack solution for city/highway may be available this summer

10 days since announcement
Future Feature
By Nuno Cristovao
Tesla may release a single stack solution this summer
Tesla may release a single stack solution this summer
@FrenchieEAP/Twitter

Tesla's FSD Beta is amazing, and while it's far from perfect, it's certainly impressive what it can do today.

However, FSD Beta is only using Tesla's latest technology improvements for city driving. Highway driving still relies on the current production version of 'Navigate on Autopilot.'

Elon has previously said that Tesla will eventually merge highway and city driving into a single stack.

A technology stack refers to the technologies used to build a system.

A single-stack refers to using the same technologies for multiple applications, instead of having separate technology stacks for each one.

A single-stack will allow Tesla to apply everything it has learned in city driving to its Navigation on Autopilot highway feature.

When Tesla trains and adapts its FSD Beta neural nets to highway driving, we may see drastically smoother merging and cornering on the highway.

While the addition of a single stack has been talked about as far back as FSD Beta 10.1, it appears that Tesla continues to make progress.

Latest Status

Yesterday Elon said that he's now using an alpha version of FSD Beta that includes highway driving. While he admits it's not ready for prime time yet, he believes that it could be ready for consumers this summer.

While Elon can sometimes be overly optimistic on timelines, it's reassuring that Tesla continues to make progress on its single stack solution.

This news likely means that we'll not only see FSD Beta 10.13 (everything coming beta 10.13), which Elon has already talked about, but we'll likely see several more versions before a single stack solution arrives in FSD Beta 11.

New Cybertruck photos and Giga Press shown off by IDRA

By Alex Jones
Tesla Cybertruck
ksbw.com

The ever-mysterious Tesla Cybertruck has recently been photogenic with numerous pictures of a driveable prototype interior along with snapshots of the anticipated 9,000-ton Giga Press that will cast new truck bodies.

While those with Cybertruck reservations have heard it before, we do appear one step closer to the eventual release of the Cybertruck.

Redditor u/IeZael recently posted details of his experiences during a tour of the IDRA Group’s facilities in Brescia, Italy.

IDRA Giga Press
IeZael/Reddit

IDRA, founded in 1946, has created some of the largest high-pressure die casting machines in the world. IDRA routinely hosts open houses to show off the latest die-casting machinery.

While Tesla is not the only customer of IDRA, it was pretty evident that the 9000t Giga Press is eventually destined for Tesla’s factory. The biggest giveaway? The color scheme of the device is identical to the Model Y’s Giga Press.

In addition, IDRA states that the machines “can be used for SUV and small trucks.” Elon Musk later confirmed that Tesla will continue to use IDRA’s presses, including the new 9,000-ton Giga Press for the Cybertruck’s body.

In addition to the open house photo montage, IDRA produced a fascinating video series detailing the assembly of the Giga Press.

Tesla Cybertruck
ksbw.com

What has garnered more attention this week for Cybertruck reservation holders is purported interior shots of a Cybertruck prototype. Released by KSBW, the photos show a rough prototype interior with a disassembled yoke.

Interestingly, the Cybertruck appearance was part of a press event for the PG&E Elkhorn Battery System in Moss Landing (which features Tesla batteries). It is unclear if Tesla intended for the interior to be photographed at the event (given the unfinished nature of the finishes).

The center display shows the new Model X (which may be the basis for the prototype’s systems).

Tesla Cybertruck
ksbw.com

The interior in this prototype certainly deviates from the initial renderings distributed by Tesla during the Cybertruck’s initial launch.

Instead of a center seat, a console is clearly visible. In addition, the appearance of an instrument cluster brings about the exciting possibility that the Cybertruck may feature dual displays, similar to the new Model X.

The Cybertruck is anticipated to be released in 2023.

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View the release notes for the upcoming version 2022.16.2.

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Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

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