Tesla Inc has reported 273 vehicle crashes since July involving advanced driver assistance systems, more than any other automaker, according to data from U.S. auto safety regulators released Wednesday.
Automakers and tech companies have reported more than 500 crashes since June 2021, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued an order requiring this information. Two U.S. senators have called for further investigation into the “out of control industry,” and a U.S. safety board says data isn’t standardized, making it difficult to assess each system’s performance. Car manufacturer.
Automakers are rushing to add driver assistance systems, claiming these improve safety by managing certain maneuvers. US regulators are trying to figure out the practical effect of the changes. But automakers collect and report data in different ways, making it difficult to assess system performance.
Democratic Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal told NHTSA in a letter that “releasing the data alone is not enough. We urge NHTSA to … shine a light on this out-of-control industry and impose safeguards to prevent further fatalities.”
The current report contains “a ‘fruit bowl’ of data with lots of caveats, which makes it difficult” to understand, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair Jennifer Homendy said in a statement. “Tesla collects a huge amount of high-quality data, which may mean they’re overrepresented in NHTSA’s publication.”
Tesla’s advanced driving assistant software, dubbed “Full Self Driving,” has also caused confusion about the vehicle’s capabilities.
Senators have raised alarm over the high number of Tesla accidents. “We are concerned that some drivers today are using technology as a convenience feature and putting themselves and other road users at risk,” Markey and Blumenthal wrote.
NHTSA has ordered companies to promptly report all crashes involving advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and vehicles equipped with automated driving systems tested on public roads.
Of the 392 such crashes reported by a dozen automakers since July, six deaths were reported and five were seriously injured. Honda Motor recorded 90 accidents.
The companies also reported 130 crashes involving prototype automated driving systems, while 108 resulted in no injuries and one resulted in serious injury.
NHTSA said Waymo, Alphabet Inc’s self-driving car unit, reported 62 crashes involving automated driving systems, while General Motors’ Cruise had 23.
Waymo said its crashes were not of high severity and a third were in manual mode. Airbags deployed in only two collisions.
Cruise said he “has covered millions of miles in one of the most complex urban driving environments because saving lives is our primary focus.”
The NTSB reiterated a five-year-old recommendation that NHTSA require automakers to provide standardized crash and usage data. He made the recommendation after the 2016 crash killed a Tesla driver using the company’s Autopilot system, which the company’s website says “allows your car to steer, steer, and ‘automatically accelerate and brake in its lane’, but still requires driver attention.
NHTSA said the first batch of data has already been used to trigger investigations and recalls and helped inform existing fault probes.
The data “will help our investigators quickly identify potential defect trends,” said NHTSA Administrator Steven Cliff, warning that the raw number of incidents reported by manufacturer “is by itself insufficient to draw conclusions.”
The agency pointed out that crashes are tracked by individual automakers in different ways and discourage comparisons in part because there are no comprehensive metrics on how much each system is used.
Tesla did not respond to requests for comment.
Honda told Reuters it found no faults in the systems and its accident reports were based on unverified customer reports “to comply with NHTSA’s 24-hour reporting TAUT”.
No other automaker reported more than 10 ADAS crashes during the period.
Despite the limitations, NHTSA said the data was essential to quickly spot potential flaws or safety trends. Incidents that occur when an advanced system has been activated within 30 seconds of a crash must be reported within 24 hours to NHTSA.
The agency plans to release new data every month.
NHTSA reviewed Autopilot and said last week it was upgrading its probe in 830,000 Tesla vehicles with the system, a necessary step before it can request a recall. The regulator had opened a preliminary assessment to assess Autopilot’s performance after a dozen crashes in which Tesla vehicles struck stationary emergency vehicles.
Additionally, NHTSA has opened 35 special investigations into crashes involving Tesla vehicles in which ADAS was suspected of being used. A total of 14 accidental deaths have been reported in these Tesla investigations, including a crash in California in May that killed three people.
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