A recent article by The Spring points out that Tesla’s Autopilot looks extremely safe, and keeps getting safer. The data show that a Tesla driver with Autopilot engaged was 30% to 41% less likely to crass in 2019 (3rd quarter) compared to 2018 (3rd quarter).
One of the things the author of this article in The Spring found odd was that no analyst on the Tesla Q3 conference call had any questions for Tesla regarding the updated safety data — especially since Tesla has improved tremendously.
The data come from Tesla’s entire fleet in a variety of driving modes. With Autopilot on, there was one crash for every 3.34 million miles. With active safety, there was one crash for every 1.92 million miles. Without either, there was one crash every 2.02 million miles. And the US average (data from the NHTSA) shows there is one crash for every 492,000 miles driven.
In 2018, Tesla cars were already the safest on the road.
Now, Autopilot is 30% safer than in 2018, and Tesla's active safety system is 41% safer than in 2018.
— Kevin Rooke (@kerooke) November 4, 2019
The author of this article shows a comparison between the third quarters of 2018 and 2019. In Q3 2018, Tesla had just finished delivering 360,000 vehicles and ended the quarter with a fleet size of around 450,000 vehicles. However, only 50,000 cars didn’t have the hardware required for Autopilot, so the sample size for the data was about 350,000 vehicles.
By Q3 2019, we see that Tesla’s fleet doubled to 700,000, and it ended the quarter with almost 800,000 cars. Remove the 50,000 cars without Autopilot and the size drops to an average of 700,000 cars in Q3.
Another thing the author of this article noted was that critics love to focus on Tesla cars that crash, yet they don’t think about all the Teslas that have been saved from crashes by Autopilot.
Also, from looking at the graph, we can see that not only has Tesla vehicles with Autopilot on have improved. With Autopilot engaged, we see fewer and fewer accidents than without it engaged.
Tesla Is The Google Of Car Data Collection Industry
I love how this author, in his conclusion, used the Google search engine as an analogy for Tesla. With Autopilot, Tesla is becoming the Google of the car industry. What do you know Google for? With Google, you can find anything about anything. Google has established itself as the ultimate search industry. It has superior search algorithms that entice users. A small business can be found on Google by creating a Google Maps profile for their business. (I’ve done this with the gallery I used to work for.)
Tesla, with Autopilot, is establishing itself as the safest carmaker out there. Yes, there have been crashes, but Autopilot has contributed to preventing more accidents than other cars without it. The author on The Spring asked a question: “What happens when Tesla starts pulling new car buyers away from other OEMs because of its superior safety?”
When people become new Tesla owners, they immediately help Tesla collect more data, especially when they use Autopilot. The fast growing data pool will continue to widen and further improve Tesla’s safety advantage compared to other vehicles. Perhaps a year from now we will see another comparison from 2019 to 2020 that shows a sizable improvement, especially since the China Gigafactory is now online and we will definitely see a big fleet increase in the next quarter and in 2020. As Tesla gets more vehicles on the road, it collects more data, learns more, and gets better at preventing accidents. What other carmaker is doing anything close to that?