What just happened? Despite the publicity around Autopilot accidents, Tesla claims its vehicles are engineered to be the safest cars in the world. To show how it tests its EVs to see how they cope with collisions, the company is offering a look inside its Crash Lab.
Last month saw Tesla’s Model 3 awarded the 2019 Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), having scored a “good” rating in all six of the IIHS crash tests. It also earned a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
To show how its car gained those safety awards, Tesla has released a behind the scenes look at the crash tests it performs on its cars. The engineer in the video explains that the test vehicle begins 340 feet away from the wall, and is pulled down the track using a steel cable.
Do you want a sneak peek of our crash lab?— Tesla (@Tesla) 15 October 2019
Of course you do.
It’s one of the reasons why Model 3 is among the safest cars on the road.https://t.co/jQxWizz0ea
Tesla workers also explain that they run thousands of computer-modeled simulations of the crashes before any physical tests take place.
“At the design level, we’ll produce 3D models of the parts, and we’ll simulate those using very complex and sophisticated mathematical models that represent the physics of a crash,” says the engineer.
There’s also mention of the Model 3’s specially designed front passenger airbag, which wraps around the occupant to prevent them from making contact with the interior during crashes.
While there have been a handful of reports of fatal collisions where Tesla’s Autopilot feature was engaged, the company says more than one billion miles have been driven with the feature enabled. In the second quarter of this year, there was one accident for every 3.27 million miles driven in which drivers had the Autopilot engaged.