Tesla has released its new Autopilot safety report for the second quarter of 2019 and added more data about fire events.
It’s the automaker’s fourth report since launching this new initiative in response to what the company saw as unfair coverage of accidents involving its vehicles by the media.
They claim a similar unfair situation with fires involving their vehicles hence why they added a section about it.
Tesla’s first safety report was released in October of last year for the third quarter 2018.
At the time, Tesla said that it registered “one accident per 3.34 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot engaged.”
As for miles driven without Autopilot, Tesla said that registered “one accident or crash-like event for every 1.92 million miles driven.”
For its fourth quarter report, Tesla changed its approach and instead launched a microsite for the vehicle safety report.
The accidents per mile have been going up over the last few quarters.
Today, Tesla has now released its report for the second quarter of 2019 and there was a big improvement.
For this quarter, Tesla also added a new comparison with its vehicles that are not equipped with Autopilot or any active safety feature:
“In the 2nd quarter, we registered one accident for every 3.27 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot engaged. For those driving without Autopilot but with our active safety features, we registered one accident for every 2.19 million miles driven. For those driving without Autopilot and without our active safety features, we registered one accident for every 1.41 million miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 498,000 miles.*
With the updated report, Tesla also released additional data about fires involving its vehicles.
Tesla says that there was a Tesla vehicle fire for every 170 million miles traveled between 2012 and 2018:
“From 2012 – 2018, there has been approximately one Tesla vehicle fire for every 170 million miles traveled. By comparison, data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and U.S. Department of Transportation shows that in the United States there is a vehicle fire for every 19 million miles traveled.
In order to provide an apt comparison to NFPA data, Tesla’s data set includes instances of vehicle fires caused by structure fires, arson, and other things unrelated to the vehicle, which account for about 15% of Tesla vehicle fires over this time period.”
The automaker plans to release the fire data annually.
As for the Autopilot data, Tesla has committed to releasing those numbers on a quarterly basis.
The main complaint about Tesla’s set of Autopilot data is that the system is mostly used on the highway versus city driving, where accidents are more common.
Therefore, it’s not really useful to compare those two datasets.
Also, the comparison with the overall NHTSA data also includes older vehicles, which are more likely to be involved in accidents than Tesla’s much more recent vehicles on average.
However, the data with Tesla vehicles without Autopilot and without our active safety features is a more interesting comparison point in my opinion and it is promising.
Same goes for the Tesla fires. Not perfect data, but it’s promising.
Either way, Tesla is not required to release this data and we aren’t seeing any other automakers doing the same thing. Maybe they should follow Tesla’s lead on that front. It could become an interesting metric to follow industry-wide, especially with the advent of driver-assist systems.
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