In a European safety test that evaluated driver-assist technologies like the contentious Autopilot system from the automaker, the Tesla Model Y achieved the highest score of any vehicle. The 2022 Model Y outperformed vehicles from automakers including Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Lexus, and Volkswagen with a 98% score in the “safety assist” category, which assessed safety features like lane-keeping and automatic emergency braking.
Overall, the European testing, known as Euro NCAP, or “new car assessment program,” gave the Model Y a five-star rating. A vehicle with a five-star rating offers exceptional crash protection and powerful crash avoidance technology. In two of the four test categories, the Model Y received the highest ratings of any tested vehicle, and in a third category, vulnerable road users, which focuses on interactions between pedestrians and cyclists, it received the second-highest rating.
Although they weren’t put through testing, Tesla’s new models share the same common driver-assist technology as the Model Y. A Tesla Model 3 achieved a five-star rating overall in 2019. The restrictions on Tesla’s European Autopilot are greater than those on the US version. For instance, the Smart Summon feature is restricted to 20 feet rather than 213 feet, in which the car gently drives to meet its owner. Moreover, Tesla has not yet disclosed a date for the beta launch of “full self-driving” in Europe.
Autopilot and “full self-driving,” two of Tesla’s driver-assist features, have long pushed the limits of what is possible with automotive technology. Several drivers say they feel less exhausted after utilizing Autopilot’s autonomous steering function on extended highway rides. Yet, there have been issues raised regarding the system’s safety record, including whether the automaker goes far enough to maintain drivers’ attention and engagement. Following multiple deadly collisions that made headlines, the National Transportation Safety Board demanded that Tesla enhance its driver-assist technologies. Autopilot use has been linked to increased driver distraction, according to research.
After the inclusion of cabin cameras by rivals like General Motors and Ford, Tesla started using them in 2021 within its more recent vehicles to track driver interaction. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into incidents in which Tesla cars using Autopilot hit emergency vehicles that were stopped on the road in the rear. It broadened its inquiry this summer, which might lead to a recall. Also, it is investigating a number of deadly collisions this summer in which motorcyclists were struck and killed by vehicles using Autopilot. The accidents have prompted inquiries about whether the Tesla cabin camera can reliably identify inattentive drivers at night, when vision inside the car may be less favorable. Instead, some rivals like Ford and General Motors employ infrared technology, which might be more appropriate for nighttime settings.
Tesla often avoids interacting with the professional news media and did not reply right away to a request for comment. Recently, a video of a Tesla running over a child mannequin while using what the company terms “full self-driving” caused Tesla supporters to test the safety of the cars with their own kids. The tests include hypothetical situations like a kid darting out from behind parked cars or a person crossing a road when a car is turning. Tesla scored 7.7 out of a possible 9 points for its emergency braking close to people.
Additionally, according to Euro NCAP, the Tesla system automatically adjusts the sensitivity of its front collision warning system to be more responsive and uses a camera-based system to keep an eye out for inattentive drivers. The testing procedure for driver-assist technology by Euro NCAP is silent on whether it assesses devices at night. A request for comment was not immediately met with a response.