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DETROIT — The government is expected to release data soon on collisions involving vehicles with autonomous or partially automated driving systems that likely will single out Tesla for a disproportionately high number of such crashes.
In coming days, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to issue figures it has been gathering for nearly a year. The agency said in a separate report last week that it had documented more than 200 crashes involving Teslas that were using Autopilot, “Full Self-Driving,” Traffic-Aware Cruise Control or another one of the company’s partially automated systems.
Tesla’s figure and its crash rate per 1,000 vehicles was substantially higher than the corresponding numbers for other automakers that provided such data to The Associated Press ahead of NHTSA’s release. The number of Tesla collisions was revealed as part of a NHTSA investigation of Teslas on Autopilot that had crashed into emergency and other vehicles stopped along roadways.
Tesla does have many more vehicles with partly automated systems operating on U.S. roads than most other automakers do — roughly 830,000, dating to the 2014 model year. And it collects real-time data online from vehicles, so it has a much faster reporting system. Other automakers, by contrast, must wait for reports to arrive from the field and sometimes don’t learn about crashes for months.
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In a June 2021 order, NHTSA told more than 100 automakers and automated vehicle tech companies to report serious crashes within one day of learning about them and to disclose less-serious crashes by the 15th day of the following month. The agency is assessing how the systems perform, whether they endanger public safety and whether new regulations may be needed.
General Motors said it reported three crashes while its “Super Cruise” or other partially automated systems were in use. The company said it has sold more than 34,000 vehicles with Super Cruise since its debut in 2017.
Nissan, with over 560,000 vehicles on the road using its ”ProPilot Assist,” didn’t have to report any crashes, the company said.
Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, said it reported two crashes involving its systems. Ford reported zero involving its “Blue Cruise” driver-assist system which went on sale in the spring, though Ford wouldn’t say if there were crashes with less-capable systems.
GM said the three crashes weren’t the fault of Super Cruise. It also reported two crashes that happened before the June 2021 order, a spokesman said.
Several automakers and tech companies, including Toyota and Honda, declined to release their numbers before the NHTSA data is revealed.
A message was left seeking comment from Tesla, which has disbanded its media relations department. NHTSA wouldn’t comment on the data June 14.
NHTSA said in documents that it has received 191 reports of crashes involving Teslas on Autopilot and nonemergency vehicles, plus 16 more involving parked emergency vehicles or those with warning lights, for a total of 207. Of the 191, the agency removed 85 because of actions of other vehicles or insufficient data to make a firm assessment of the crashes. That left 106 that were included in the Autopilot investigation.
It wasn’t clear if 207 matched the total number of Tesla crashes reported to NHTSA under the order. A NHTSA spokeswoman wouldn’t comment.
In defending its partially automated systems, Tesla has said that Autopilot and “Full Self-Driving” cannot drive themselves, and that drivers should be ready to intervene at all times. The systems can keep cars in their lanes and away from other vehicles and objects.