Watch how Tesla Autopilot handles ‘no driver in seat’ (a response to Texas FSD incident)



Tesla is once again under the radar of mainstream media and press as a 2019 Model S faced an accident when it was allegedly running on Autopilot Full Self-Driving (FSD). Authorities suspect that there was no driver in the car at the time of the incident.

Unfortunately two precious lives were lost in this accidents. While the actual cause of this accident is still under investigation, the media is trying put the entire blame on Tesla and its Autopilot FSD software.

Currently, a limited number of Tesla owners have the FSD Beta software on their cars and a big chunk of these drivers are Tesla employees testing the system.

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Tesla has clearly outlined the precautions safety measures while using its self-driving beta software — basically, the driver needs to stay alert to take over the driving in case Autopilot is not able to handle a situation.

Tesla FSD Beta software is not supposed to work at all if there is no occupant in the driver’s seat. However, mainstream media reports such as from abc13 suggest that investigators are sure that there was no one in the driver’s seat when this crash happened.

Now a Tesla owner and YouTuber who happens to have the FSD Beta software on his Model 3 demonstrates what happens when you unbuckle the seat belt while driving on Autopilot FSD. Let’s watch first:

As we witnessed in the video above, Tesla Autopilot disengages automatically as soon as the driver unlatches the seatbelt. Not just disengage, the FSD software also makes the car come to a stop and even pulls the car over for further safety.

If someone has intentionally bypassed these checks by cheating the system somehow, it is unlikely that Tesla will be held responsible for the outcomes.

Commenting on the recently released Tesla Autopilot Q1 2021 safety report, “Tesla with Autopilot engaged now approaching 10 times lower chance of accident than average vehicle,” CEO Elon Musk tweeted.

In the 1st quarter, we registered one accident for every 4.19 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 2.05 million miles driven. For those driving without Autopilot and without our active safety features, we registered one accident for every 978 thousand miles driven. By comparison, NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 484,000 miles.

Tesla safety report

This means that there is a 10X lower chance of getting involved in an accident using Tesla Autopilot FSD software and 5X lower with just the basic active safety features.

Even if a Tesla owner hasn’t bought the $10k Full Self-Driving package, it works in shadow mode, and in case of a 100% probability of a crash, it can kick in to avoid the obvious accident.

For newer cars with Autopilot Hardware 2.5 and above, the Tesla Active Safety using the basic Autopilot features comes standards (2018 Model 3 onwards).

The cars Tesla is referring to as without active safety in the above safety report, are actually older Tesla models without the new Autopilot hardware, usually called AP1 Tesla cars. Even those cars have a 2X lower probability of an accident compared to the average US stats.

Related: Tesla owner leaves the car on Autopilot while filming from the passenger seat

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Iqtidar Ali
Iqtidar Ali
Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii


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