According to information shared at the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) in New Orleans, Tesla's Autopilot advanced driver-assist system may prevent about 40 crashes per day. It seems the car may avoid accelerating into objects or people even when the driver pushes the go pedal unintentionally.
The information was shared by Tesla’s Autopilot Software Director Ashok Elluswamy in his keynote speech at the event, He more recently shared a video of the presentation on YouTube, as well as a thread with more details on Twitter.
Teslarati says the workshop itself happened earlier this summer, 2022, though Ashok just posted the related 12-part thread on Twitter. If you click on the Twitter post below, which directs you to the entire video we've embedded above, you can check out the whole thread. It contains short video clips with related details.
While we always encourage you to watch the whole video, the clips in the Twitter thread help make it easier to understand. As you can see below, it's the sixth message in the thread that specifically refers to the prevention of ~40 crashes per day.
Ashok is specifically referring to crashes that are caused by the driver accidentally pressing the accelerator pedal at 100 percent rather than the brake pedal. A move like this is often initially blamed on "sudden unintended acceleration" until the authorities can determine why the car accelerated instead of stopping. Ashok explains via Teslarati:
“Here, I’m showing a particular mode of failure of humans where they accidentally press the accelerator pedal instead of the brake pedal. For example, these people are pressing the accelerator pedal thinking that they’re pressing the brake pedal. But the car realizes that they are doing this and are heading towards a collision and automatically cuts out the acceleration, and presses the brake to prevent the humans from colliding.”
The Autopilot Software Director goes on to say that the driver in the video would have likely ended up in a river if Autopilot didn't kick in and stop the car from accelerating. A second video shows a Tesla driver pushing the go pedal during a parking manoeuvre, but Autopilot doesn't allow the car to accelerate into obstacles or a human.
Ashok makes it clear that Tesla is still developing and improving its Autopilot technology, so it may not react the same in every situation. While the Tesla executive claims that some 40 crashes are prevented per day, it's impossible to know that number for sure.
With that said, if it can be proven that Tesla's Autopilot technology is not allowing drivers to accelerate into objects or people (regardless of the driver's intentions), this is something that could certainly save lives.