Tesla Launches Two New Safety Features To Protect Drivers

Tesla recently released an over-the-air software update with two new safety features powered by their Autopilot hardware. Both features are designed to make the car even safer by ensuring it stays in its lane at all times (even if the driver hasn’t activated or installed Autopilot’s Autosteer feature). The free update applies to all Model 3 vehicles and will soon be available for all Tesla models built after October 2016. The features aim to improve the safety of Teslas and their occupants.

Corrective steering

The first new feature, Lane Departure Avoidance, implements automatic corrective steering to keep the car in the right lane on the road. If the feature detects the driver’s hands aren’t on the wheel, it’ll issue a series of hands-on reminders and alerts (similar to Tesla’s Autosteer solution). The vehicle will also automatically slow down to 15mph (24kph) below the speed limit and switch on the hazard lights. This new feature is optional and can be turned off by the user in the Autopilot Control menu. When active, the update functions at speeds between 25 miles per hour and 90 miles per hour.

Preventing collisions

The second safety feature, Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance, is specifically designed to prevent road accidents. If the feature detects the vehicle leaving its lane or nearing the edge of the road, it automatically takes charge and applies corrective steering to get the car back on track. Like its name suggests, the update is designed to prevent emergencies, specifically collisions. This update will be automatically switched on each time the driver starts the car, but it can simply be turned off again when necessary.

Tesla: prioritizing safety

These safety updates come quickly after the results of Tesla’s Q1 2019 Vehicle Safety Report. The findings? When Autopilot is switched on, there’s one accident per 2.87 million miles driven. When it’s switched off, there’s one accident every 1.76 million miles. These statistics also include “near misses”. In comparison, there’s one car crash every 436,000 miles, general data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals. These statistics reveal Tesla’s dedication to car safety is working effectively. Additionally, as long as Tesla drivers also have good insurance coverage, they can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from being well-protected on the road. And while there were initial concerns that drivers using Autopilot would be less vigilant and easily lulled into a false sense of security, this isn’t the case. An MIT study looked at data from over 1 billion miles driven by Tesla owners with Autopilot activated since it’s launch in 2015. Drivers using Autopilot were found to be highly engaged, with the feature switched on for roughly 35% of the time. 18,928 disengagements were recorded as drivers proactively took control during dangerous driving situations.

With their electric design and durable steel and aluminum bodies, Tesla accessories are already well-known for high levels of safety. However, these new features now take safety to a whole new level. That the update is provided free of charge only highlights Tesla’s dedication to keeping their drivers as safe as possible on the road.