Tesla self-driving technology could prevent 90% of road accidents, new research finds

Tesla warns new FSD mode may still have bugs, stating it ‘may do the wrong thing at the worst time’

Anthony Cuthbertson
Wednesday 04 November 2020 16:16 GMT
Tesla has pioneered self-driving technology through its Autopilot software
Tesla has pioneered self-driving technology through its Autopilot software

Tesla’s self-driving Autopilot software could prevent 90 per cent of road accidents, according to new research.

Analysis of data gathered by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) institute found that if all cars in Germany were equipped with Tesla’s Autopilot, the number of car crashes would drop from 281,849 per year, to 29,413.

Tesla’s $8,000 “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) feature claims to allow journeys from one location to another without the need for driver intervention.

It is still in the early stages of being rolled out and Tesla includes a disclaimer for users, saying, “It may do the wrong thing at the worst time, so you must always keep your hands on the wheel and pay extra attention to the road.”

The CAR institute’s analysis depends on all cars on the road using the self-driving software, which is still a long way from being realised.

“[It] shows the long-term potential of a safety technology like this enabled by Autopilot,” Professor Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, director of the CAR institute, told Austrian publication Trend.

He noted that technological advancements in this area are occurring at such a rapid pace that regulation is unable to keep up.

“Legislative procedures to legally secure autonomous driving are proceeding at a snail’s pace,” he said.

FSD is currently only available to a limited number of Tesla owners in the US but will soon begin rolling out to Canada, according to Mr Musk.

Another issue with a widespread introduction of the self-driving feature is the need to train and test it in countries with different road layouts and rules.

During a Tesla earnings call in October, Mr Musk said he expected a wide release later this year, though this may be limited to North America.

“We’re starting very slow and very cautiously because the world is a very complex and messy place,” he said.

He later tweeted: “So many different traffic signs, rules and languages around the world, not to mention driving on the left side of the road!"

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