While no car can prevent all accidents, we work every day to make them less likely to occur. The massive amount of real-world data gathered from our cars’ eight cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and forward-facing radar, coupled with billions of miles of inputs from real drivers, helps us better understand the patterns to watch out for in the moments before a crash.
As our quarterly safety reports have shown, drivers using Autopilot register fewer accidents per mile than those driving without it. That’s because Autopilot is designed to reduce fatigue by helping drivers stay in their lane, while also ensuring that they keep their hands on the wheel. While lane-keeping and hands-on monitoring can be extremely effective at helping to reduce the likelihood of an accident when Autopilot is in use, we believe that these precautions can also be extremely effective for preventing accidents when Autopilot is not in use.
Today, we’re introducing two new safety features designed to help prevent drivers from inadvertently departing their lane, which our data shows is a common cause of accidents when Autopilot is not in use. These new features – Lane Departure Avoidance and Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance – help drivers stay engaged and in their lane in order to avoid collisions.
Lane Departure Avoidance
Lane Departure Avoidance lets a driver elect to have corrective steering applied in order to keep them in their intended lane. When the feature is in use and a driver is departing a lane without their turn signal on, the car will also check to see whether a driver’s hands are on the wheel. If a driver’s hands are not detected on the wheel, the driver will receive a series of hands-on reminders and alerts, similar to the ones that our cars provide to customers who use Autopilot. If a driver’s hands are repeatedly not detected on the wheel when Traffic Aware Cruise Control is in use, their car will gradually slow down to 15 miles below the speed limit or below the car’s set speed and turn its hazard lights on.
This feature can be turned on or off, and works at speeds between 25 and 90 mph. It is an extension of Lane Departure Warning, which already warns drivers through a steering wheel vibration if they begin to drift out of their lane without their turn signal engaged.
Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance
Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance is designed to steer a Tesla vehicle back into the driving lane if our system detects that it is departing its lane and there could be a collision, or if the car is close to the edge of the road. This feature will automatically be enabled at the beginning of every drive, but can be turned off for a single drive by going to the Autopilot Controls menu.
At Tesla, improving safety is our primary goal, even after a customer purchases their car. That’s why we’re introducing these features beginning today via a free over-the-air software update, starting with Model 3 owners and gradually expanding to all cars that were built after October 2016. This is just another way that we are helping to protect Tesla drivers and passengers, and others on the road, every day.