According to a report released Wednesday by the US Department of Transportation, vehicles using Tesla’s Autopilot software were involved in 273 crashes in the last year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s report provides the clearest picture yet of how Tesla and other cutting-edge advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) perform on US roads.
ADAS features can automate vehicle functions such as steering, braking, and acceleration, but they fall short of fully autonomous driving.
The information comes from an order issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in June, instructing automakers to report any known incidents involving their Level 2 driver-assistance systems.
Regulators also told self-driving car companies like Waymo to share crash data as soon as they happen.
Between July of last year and May 15, automakers reported 392 crashes involving their ADAS systems, with Tesla reporting the most. Honda came in second with 90 accidents. Subaru accounted for ten, Ford for five, and Toyota for four. Seven other automobile manufacturers reported three or fewer incidents. Nissan reported none.
Other vehicles collided with ADAS-equipped cars in some of the reported incidents.
Unlike Nissan’s ProPilot and GM’s SuperCruise systems, which are limited to highways, Tesla’s Autopilot can be used on a variety of roads. It’s impossible to compare relative levels of safety — or how each might compare to accident rates under full human control — without knowing how many miles each ADAS system has been driven and where.
The study is part of a larger effort by the US government to understand the risks and benefits of ADAS features, which are becoming more common and encourage drivers to delegate an increasing number of driving tasks to their vehicles, such as parking and changing lanes.
Tesla, in particular, is under intense regulatory scrutiny following a series of crashes in which Autopilot-enabled vehicles collided with stopped emergency vehicles.
Although Tesla instructs drivers to pay close attention, safety experts have accused Autopilot of encouraging distracted driving.
The NHTSA also warned that some manufacturers have easier access to crash data, which could affect the data. According to the NHTSA, some crashes may have gone unreported, while others may have been counted twice if multiple vehicles with ADAS systems were involved.
Honda said in a statement to another news outlet that the public shouldn’t make “apple-to-apple comparisons” between automakers because they collect crash data differently and have different fleet sizes.
In a separate report, the NHTSA stated that self-driving vehicles were involved in 130 incidents. Waymo, a Google-owned startup that is testing driverless taxis, had the most incidents with 62.
We see value in having nationally standardized and uniform crash reporting during this early stage of the development and deployment of autonomous driving technology, and there’s public benefit in NHTSA sharing its findings. We also believe any reporting requirements should be harmonized across all U.S. jurisdictions to limit confusion and potentially enable more meaningful comparisons, and NHTSA’s effort is a step toward achieving that goal.— Waymo spokesperson