Tesla's semi-autonomous Autopilot feature results In an amazing forty percent reduction in crashes. This from our diligent statisticians at NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released its full findings following the investigation into last year’s fatal crash involving a driver’s use of Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot feature. The report clears Tesla’s Autopilot system of any fault in the incident, and in fact at multiple points within the report praises its design in terms of safety, and highlights its impact on lowering the number of traffic incidents involving Tesla vehicles overall.
The full report is embedded below, but some sections of note include a section where NHTSA notes that crash rates involving Tesla cars have dropped by almost 40 percent since the wide introduction of Autopilot. It also notes that its investigation did not find any defects in the design or implementation of Tesla’s automatic emergency braking systems (AEB) or its Autopilot cruise features. The report also states that Tesla properly anticipated the potential for driver misuse in the design of Autopilot, studied those potential effects and incorporated it into the product’s final design before broad rollout.
It’s essentially as good as result as Tesla can have hoped for from the U.S. traffic safety agency’s investigation, which took place over the last six months. Reuters reported earlier on Thursday that the investigation would not result in a recall of Tesla vehicles, but the full findings show that in fact, the federal regulatory body found plenty to praise while conducting its inquiry.
As the beautiful old car cruised in almost perfect silence under the guidance of it's automatic controls, Duncan tried to see something of the terrain through which she was passing. The spaceport was 50 km from the city - no one had yet invented a noiseless rocket - and the four-lane highway bore a surprising amount of traffic. Duncan could count at least 20 vehicles of different types and even though they were all moving in the same direction, the spectacle was somewhat alarming.
"I hope all those other cars are on automatic," he said anxiously.
Washington looked a little shocked. "Of course," he said. "It's been a criminal offense for at least a hundred years to drive manually on a public highway. But we still have occasional psychopaths to kill themselves and other people..."
(Read more about Arthur C. Clarke's autonomous cars)
Update 07-Oct-2017: Isaac Asimov stated this idea a quarter-century earlier than Clarke; see the entry for laws against human drivers. End update.