Teslas Running Autopilot Involved in at Least 273 Crashes in Past Year washingtonpost.com

Here is a little update on that NHTSA investigation into Tesla’s autonomous vehicle systems.

Faiz Siddiqui, Rachel Lerman, and Jeremy B. Merrill, Washington Post:

Tesla vehicles running its Autopilot software have been involved in 273 reported crashes over roughly the past year, according to regulators, far more than previously known and providing concrete evidence regarding the real-world performance of its futuristic features.

It is not particularly notable to have under three hundred crashes in cars made by a single automaker selling hundreds of thousands of vehicles in the U.S. in 2021. But if all these crashes occurred while the cars were running Autopilot — more on that “if” below — that means there was a crash, on average, three out of every four days from June 2021 through June 2022 by the same driver.

Here is the “if”:

The new data set stems from a federal order last summer requiring automakers to report crashes involving driver assistance to assess whether the technology presented safety risks. Tesla‘s vehicles have been found to shut off the advanced driver-assistance system, Autopilot, around one second before impact, according to the regulators.

I am not the type to explore conspiracy theories, but it does not look good for Tesla if Autopilot disengages immediately before a crash. If this summary is true, I hope there is a legitimate explanation for it.