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6 Mar, 2019 10:32

Tesla’s autopilot system not safe & may even increase risk of crashes – investigative report

Tesla’s autopilot system not safe & may even increase risk of crashes – investigative report

New research by Quality Control Systems Corporation (QCSC) has found that Tesla’s Autosteer may have made accidents more common instead of reducing crashes.

According to the report, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which launched an investigation in 2016 following a fatal Tesla crash, has misinterpreted the data it was provided. Back then, the NHTSA determined that the system wasn’t just safe, but actually slashed crash rates by nearly 40 percent.

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“After obtaining the formerly secret, underlying data through a lawsuit filed under the Freedom of Information Act against the US Department of Transportation, we discovered that the actual mileage at the time the Autosteer system was installed appears to have been reported for fewer than half the vehicles NHTSA studied,” the QCSC report said.

“For those vehicles that do have apparent exact measurements of exposure mileage both before and after the software’s installation, the change in crash rates associated with Autosteer is opposite of that claimed by NHTSA – if these data are to be believed,” according to the report.

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QCSC continued: “For the remainder of the dataset, NHTSA ignored exposure mileage that could not be classified as either before or after the installation of Autosteer.”

It pointed out that the omission of this information led the NHTSA to wrongly interpret the rate of crashes strong enough to deploy the airbag.

READ MORE: 5 fatal crashes that put brakes on self-driving car industry

The investigations followed a fatal Model S crash which occurred in May 2016 near Gainesville, Florida. The vehicle, which was operating on Autopilot, struck a tractor trailer, killing the Tesla driver in the first deadly accident of its kind.

Tesla has already responded to the new findings, arguing that QCSC has also failed to represent the full data.

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“QCS[C]’ analysis dismissed the data from all but 5,714 vehicles of the total 43,781 vehicles in the data set we provided to NHTSA back in 2016,” Tesla’s spokesperson told news website Jalopnik.

“And given the dramatic increase in the number of Tesla vehicles on the road, their analysis today represents about 0.5 [percent] of the total mileage that Tesla vehicles have traveled to date, and about 1 [percent] of the total mileage that Tesla vehicles have traveled to date with Autopilot engaged,” he said.

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