Tesla's Autopilot Reduces Chances of an Accident by 50 Percent, Says Musk

Musk and Norwegian Minister for Transport 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
Not one year after the Autopilot function was introduced (more like just over half a year) on all-new Model S and Model X Teslas, Elon Musk is already bragging about the efficiency of the system.
During a talk with the Norwegian Minister of Transport and Communications (the same meeting where he mentioned something about a potential future rival for Uber that uses autonomous vehicles), the CEO of Tesla Motors also mentioned something quite interesting and important. He seemed to suggest that, after analyzing the Autopilot data compiled from all the Tesla cars out there using the feature, they've concluded you are 50 percent less likely to be involved in an accident than if you were driving yourself.

Here is a transcript of his ideas on the subject: “The probability of having an accident is 50% lower if you have Autopilot on. Even with our first version. So we can see basically what’s the average number of kilometers to an accident - accident defined by airbag deployment. Even with this early version, it’s almost twice as good as a person.”

We've seen the Autopilot in action, we've seen people letting go of the steering wheel without any sign of concern and there is no doubt that the system works. But Mr. Musk doesn't make it very clear whether he's taking one very important aspect into account: the fact that people use the Autopilot when out on the open road, on marked, multi-lane highways where the chances of any type of incident occurring are significantly reduced. Is he comparing apples with oranges or not?

Whatever the case, the numbers presented by Musk sound excellent, and he expects even greater achievements from the second generation of the Autopilot. This improved version (which is said to offer autonomous driving) should be ready in less than two years - about the same time as the Model 3, you might say. It wasn't so long ago that Musk spoke of around 47 million miles (75 million kilometers) covered with the Autopilot on, so the company has plenty of data to work with - a lot more than any other company working towards an autonomous vehicle.

Musk knows very well that the problem doesn't lie with the technology, but with the regulations and the infrastructure. He's confident that the lawmakers will take into account the encouraging results recorded by the Autopilot project and speed up the laws concerning autonomous driving. One thing is certain: quickly, slowly or just at an average pace, we are getting there - there are just too many entities pulling towards the same direction.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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