Nearly 400 crashes involve automated vehicles: US report

June 20, 20220

U.S. regulators released statistics showing that about 400 accidents in 10 months occurred involving vehicles with an automated driver assistance system. Among the participants in the accident were 273 Tesla vehicles.

The NHTSA ordered more than 100 automakers and automated vehicle companies to report major accidents within one day of becoming aware of them, and less serious accidents by the 15th of the following month. The agency is assessing how the systems work and whether new rules may be needed.

Automakers reported accidents from July 2021 to May 15, 2022 at the request of an agency investigating the issue.

Waymo, a division of Alphabet Inc., said it has over 700 autonomous vehicles in its fleet. The company also operates autonomous heavy and light duty trucks.

The company said all of their vehicle crashes occurred at low speeds, and only two of them deployed airbags.

In 108 accidents involving fully autonomous vehicles, no injuries were reported. In most accidents, the cars were damaged from behind.

Tesla’s crashes have occurred when the cars were using autopilot, “full self-driving”, traffic-aware cruise control, or other driver assistance systems. The company has about 830,000 vehicles with such systems on the road.

The next automaker to report accidents was Honda.

The company says it has about six million vehicles with these systems on U.S. roads. Subaru was the next of 10 companies to report, with all other automakers reporting five crashes or fewer.

According to the NHTSA, six people have died in crashes involving driver assistance systems, and five have been seriously injured.

Of the deaths, five occurred in Tesla vehicles and one was reported by Ford. Three of the serious injuries were in Tesla vehicles, while Honda and Ford reported one.

Tesla crashes accounted for almost 70% of the 392 reported by a dozen automakers.

While the Austin, Texas-based automaker calls its systems “Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving,” it says cars cannot steer themselves and drivers must be ready to intervene at any time.

Auto safety advocates say driver-assistance and autonomous driving systems can save lives, but not before the NHTSA sets minimum performance standards and requires increased safety to protect all road users.

“It’s clear that U.S. road users are unwitting participants in beta testing of automated driving technology,” said Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

It should be noted that reports to NHTSA are based on unverified customer claims of automated system performance at the time of the outage.

These crashes may not qualify for reporting to the NHTSA after more data is collected, Honda said.


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