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At the end of November, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) released its Vehicle Safety Report for Q3 2020, which shows that its vehicles using Autopilot are almost 10 times safer than other vehicles on United States roads. While the California manufacturer has directed massive efforts towards achieving Level 5 autonomy, the development of autonomous driving in Europe is at best slow-moving.
Recently, though, researchers in Germany are suggesting that this should change, and for good reason. The researchers indicate that, if Tesla Autopilot were installed on all cars in the Germany now, they would be able to avoid hundreds of thousands of car accidents.
“Legislative procedures that provide legal support for autonomous driving are progressing slowly,” criticizes Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Duisburg.
In Germany, accidents happen about every 300,000 kilometers (186,400 miles) and using Autopilot would significantly reduce the number of accidents, Dudenhöffer says. Moreover, the number of car accidents per kilometer of travel has grown significantly over the past three years, as data from Germany show. Accordingly, in 2013, an accident occurred only for every 300,661 kilometers (186,822 miles), yet by 2019 this number grew to one accident for every 281,849 kilometers (175,132 miles). In the last three years alone, the number of accidents has increased by about 6%.
In the United States, the situation is different, as accidents occur, on average, about half as often as in Germany. There are several reasons for this. One may be that the countries use different methods of statistical registration. Another is that, to a large extent, the road system is different in the US, with stricter speed limits and geographical differences.
The researchers point out that the difference in accident rates is even more evident between conventional vehicles and Tesla vehicles with Autopilot enabled or safety features.
Tesla Vehicle Safety Report Q3 2020:
"In the 3rd quarter, we registered one accident for every 4.59 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 2.42 million miles driven. For those driving without Autopilot and without our active safety features, we registered one accident for every 1.79 million miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA's most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 479,000 miles."
The CAR Institute has calculated what that would mean if all cars in Germany hare been equipped with Tesla Autopilot last year. According to their calculations, instead of 281,849 accidents, only 29,413 accidents would have occurred. In other words, there would be only about 10% of accidents—a colossal 90% of road accidents avoided. “This shows the long-term potential of a safety technology such as this, enabling the use of Autopilot,” concludes Dudenhöffer.
© 2020, Eva Fox. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.