Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a Standing General Order that requires manufacturers to report on crashes in the U.S. involving vehicles equipped with SAE Level 2 Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). The first report from the NHTSA General Order is now out, providing data and insights.
Level 2 ADAS vehicles can control vehicle speed and steering inputs when the driver assist systems are engaged, but still require that the human driver remain ready to assume control at all times. Previously, the NHTSA relied on things like media reports, questionnaires, and voluntary direct company outreach to collect data on these systems. Although the General Order is not intended as a comprehensive summary of all crashes involving Level 2 systems, it does provide a bit more insight into how these systems are working in the real world.
The NHTSA General Order requires entities to report a Level 2 ADAS crash if the system was in use at any time within 30 seconds of the crash, and if the crash involved a vulnerable road user (such as a pedestrian), resulted in a fatality or injury that required transportation to a hospital, required that the vehicle be towed away, or deployed an airbag.
As of May 15th, 2022, the NHTSA received 392 Level 2 ADAS-involved incident reports. Notably, vehicle manufacturers with access to advanced data recording and telemetry may report a higher number of incidents than a manufacturer with more limited data access, given the latter may rely on more conventional crash reporting processes.
Looking at the Level 2 ADAS crashes by reporting entity, Tesla had the highest number of incidents at 273, followed by Honda with 90 and Subaru at 10. GM reported only two incidents, while Ford reported five. There’s still several unknowns involved, with the vast majority of incidents (294) reporting unknown injury severity. Broken down by location, the majority of reported incidents occurred in California.
The General Order also required reports on SAE Levels 3 through 5 Automated Driving Systems. Notably, GM’s autonomous vehicle division, Cruise, reported 23 incidents, while Waymo reported the most high-level incidents at 62.