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Tesla FSD and Autopilot get poor safety rating as Toyota's Lexus LS models have the best driver-assist system

Autopilot didn't get good safety ratings (image: Tesla)
Autopilot didn't get good safety ratings (image: Tesla)
In a surprise twist, Lexus LS is equipped with a better self-driving system than Tesla's Autopilot and even FSD mode when it comes to safety ratings.

With Elon Musk overpromising on the relationship between autonomous driving capabilities and federal regulations, Tesla's dreamed Robotaxi is still years away. According to Elon's biography, Tesla will be late to launch a mass market Model 2 precisely because Elon Musk wanted to do the Robotaxi with no pedals or steering wheel first.

"We are all in on autonomy," he quipped, and has been promising that higher autonomous driving levels are just around the corner to increase the value of Tesla vehicles in circulation for a good while now. While the new Full Self-Driving Beta V12 edition is arguably the closest that Tesla has gotten to full autonomy, it's still considered a Level 2 driver-assist software for all regulatory scrutiny purposes.

Not only that, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) just introduced a new rating system for the safety of driver-assist systems like Tesla's Autopilot or FSD and they both got a Poor ranking. 

The Institute took 14 partial driving automation systems from 9 manufacturers - BMW, Ford, General Motors, Genesis, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Tesla and Volvo - and rated them in terms of their ability to keep drivers safe, including from themselves. According to the lead test developer Alexandra Mueller:

The shortcomings vary from system to system. Many vehicles don’t adequately monitor whether the driver is looking at the road or prepared to take control. Many lack attention reminders that come soon enough and are forceful enough to rouse a driver whose mind is wandering. Many can be used despite occupants being unbelted or when other vital safety features are switched off.

Tesla's autonomous riving systems only did well in things like attention reminders, but the IIHS pointed out that the tests were finished before the big safety update in December that Tesla issued following the federal Autopilot recall.

In fact, only the Lexus Teammate with Advanced Drive system available on the premium Lexus LS models was rated Acceptable as it behaved according to the set standards in a lot of the tests. Its runner-ups were the General Motors Super Cruise system as tested on a Sierra, and the Nissan ProPILOT Assist with Navi-link software on the Ariya that earned a Marginal rating.

All the rest failed in more ways than one on tests like driver monitoring, attention reminders, emergency procedures, driver involvement, and other safety features.

According to the IIHS President David Harkey, however, there is a moral to the partial driving automation story since "no single system did well across the board, but in each category at least one system performed well," so "fixes are readily available and, in some cases, may be accomplished with nothing more than a simple software update," or exactly what Tesla has been doing after the Autopilot recall.

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Tesla's driver-assist systems didn't score great on safety before the recall
Tesla's driver-assist systems didn't score great on safety before the recall


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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2024 03 > Tesla FSD and Autopilot get poor safety rating as Toyota's Lexus LS models have the best driver-assist system
Daniel Zlatev, 2024-03-12 (Update: 2024-03-13)