Friday, 01 October 2021 15:46

Tesla Vehicle Safety Report Q2 2021: Numbers Down Again

Written by Mark Kane, Inside EVs


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Tesla has just released its Vehicle Safety Report for the second quarter of 2021, for which we were waiting exceptionally long.

The results, as we guessed, are worse than a year ago. The average distance per accident while driving on Autopilot is actually down year-over-year for the second quarter in a row.


Tesla reports one crash for every 4.41 million miles driven in which drivers were using Autopilot technology (Autosteer and active safety features). That's 2.6% down year-over-year, but a least better than in Q1.


This time there is no data for driving without Autopilot but with active safety features. Driving without Autopilot and without active safety features resulted in one crash for every 1.2 million miles driven---down 23.1% year-over-year.


As Tesla is hard at work on automated driving, we would expect to see improvements year-over-year. Maybe the move away from lidar or seasonality overshadowed the general software improvements?


It's important to note the results are comparable only for a particular category, not between the categories as the input data might be widely different. In other words, we can only see whether the active safety systems are improving over time---and it's also only a rough comparison---but we can't compare Autopilot to non-Autopilot driving.


We assume the proper use of Autopilot improves safety, but Tesla's report does not allow us to evaluate the difference.


"In the second quarter, we recorded one crash for every 4.41 million miles driven in which drivers were...

...using Autopilot technology (Autosteer and active safety features)," Tesla said in its report. "For drivers who were not using Autopilot technology (no Autosteer and active safety features), we recorded one crash for every 1.2 million miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 484,000 miles."


Important factors:


  • Data for each setting might be collected at different driving scenarios (like simple highway driving or complex city driving), which makes the results incomparable between the categories
  • We don't know the methodology of registering accidents
  • Assuming the methodology was not changed, we can see how each category improves over time
  • NHTSA average for the U.S. (updated rarely) includes all cars, including older ones
  • Results might be affected by various factors, including seasonality (reduced daylight, weather conditions), less driving during COVID-19 lockdown


We thank Inside EVs for reprint permission.


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