Tesla Autopilot Miles

Last Updated: January 3, 2019 Originally Posted: June 20, 2018

This blog post presents current estimates and projection of miles driven under Autopilot (on hardware versions 1 and 2+) assuming current vehicle production and delivery rates. For us, keeping the best possible estimates of miles and context of those miles is important for analyzing safety of semi-autonomous and fully autonomous systems operating on public roads today. If you have questions, suggestions, requests, connect with me on TwitterLinkedInInstagramFacebook, or YouTube.

If you use this work in your research, please cite the preprint PDF version version:

@misc{fridman2019miles,
author = {Fridman, Lex},
title  = {{Tesla Vehicle Deliveries and Autopilot Mileage Statistics}},
month  = jan,
year   = 2019,
doi    = {10.5281/zenodo.2530449},
}

I describe the details of how I got the estimates below, but before that, let’s look at the numbers. The following is a plot of total Autopilot miles and Autopilot miles on the first and second generation of Autopilot hardware. Total estimated Autopilot miles today is 1 billion and total at the end of 2019 is projected to be 2.3 billion.

Details on Estimating Autopilot Miles

I started with the number of Tesla vehicles delivered by quarter and organized by Autopilot hardware version. Next, I did an estimate of per-day deliveries dating back to 2008 in a way that fits the quarterly reported delivery numbers. The resulting data can be downloaded here: tesla_vehicle_estimates_and_projections.csv.

Finally, I enumerated the number of miles driven in each vehicle under manual and Autopilot control. The resulting data can be downloaded here: tesla_autopilot_miles.csv. There are two notable periods that were accounted for:

  • Hardware 1 production started (approximately) on 2014-10-01 but Autopilot was not enabled on that hardware until 2015-10-15. Source: Elon Musk tweet.
  • Hardware 2+ production started (approximately) on 2016-10-19 but Autopilot was not enabled on that hardware until 2017-01-21. Source: Elon Musk tweet.

The data points on mileage (overall and in Autopilot) came from various sources online as listed in the Sources section below. It all boils down to an estimate of miles traveled per vehicle per day (overall and in Autopilot). This estimate has remained stable over time as the number of vehicles and miles increased:

  • Average Tesla miles driven per vehicle per day: 32.29 miles/day
  • Average Autopilot miles driven per Autopilot-capable vehicle per day: 4.69 miles/day

This puts the percentage of miles that Autopilot operates an Autopilot-capable vehicle at 14.5%. This is very much a conservative estimate that falls 20+% lower than everything we’ve seen in our MIT-AVT dataset, but much more details on that at a later time.  Several comments and interesting observations.

The Autopilot miles per day in Autopilot-capable vehicles decreased from 7.91 miles/day in November 2016 to 4.69 miles/day in December 2018, while the number of miles driven per day remained steady (31.76 compared to 32.29). The cause of this is likely the distinction between Autopilot-capable and Autopilot-enabled. With the release of the Model 3, it’s reasonable that a smaller percentage of owners elect to purchase the enhanced Autopilot option, which costs $5,000 at purchase or $6,000 at a later date.

Key Estimated Numbers

As of Dec 24, 2018, the following are the estimates:

  1. At the end of 2018, Autopilot miles is approximately 1 billion.
  2. By the end of 2019, Autopilot miles are projected to be over 2.3 billion.

Updates

Based on helpful discussion, I’ve made several updates to the data, the plots, and this blog post since first publishing. I summarize the updates here.

FAQ

Based on questions I received, here are some comments:

  • Q: Can I use the data, images, videos provided in this blog post?
    A: Yes, of course. Please mention where you got it from. For the images/videos, please don’t modify them in any way.
  • Q: I have a Tesla, can I join your MIT study?
    A: Sure. First, I’d appreciate it if you filled out this Tesla Autopilot survey. Second, to learn more about the data in the study see this page. Third, to let us know you’re interested go to this page.

Takeaway

Tesla Autopilot has driven over 1 billion estimated miles. This is an important accomplishment in the history of applied AI research, development, and deployment. My mission and the mission of the team of engineers around me is to develop AI systems that save human lives. Tesla is striving to do the same at a very large scale. How successful they are is yet to be seen. The stakes are high and the pressure on engineers to do the best work of their life couldn’t be higher. We have a lot of data in the MIT-AVT study that helps illuminate how to take on this life-critical challenge. More on this later. The fundamentals of human-robot interaction with Autopilot we’re observing are fascinating.

Sources