(Benzinga) – Although self-driving technology is controversial, Tesla Inc’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) Autopilot has been shown to be involved in less accidents than vehicles without the technology.
The option comes standard on all Tesla vehicles, and can keep the car in its lane and change speed to keep up with traffic — while the driver pays attention with a hand on the wheel.
In Europe, stricter regulation has limited Autopilot’s abilities, with vehicles sold there unable to handle as many situations as the software in the U.S.
Now Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research in Duisburg, Germany, is saying regulations for autonomous cars are progressing too slowly.
The number of car accidents per kilometer traveled has been growing over the last three years, and Dudenhöffer said Autopilot could help reduce these incidents.
The CAR Institute in Duisburg has calculated only 29,413 accidents would have occurred if all vehicles in Germany had been equipped with Tesla autopilot in the previous year.
This is in contrast to the 281,849 road traffic accidents actually reported.
“In the Tesla world, it is easy to verify that these vehicles have no defects in their technology via the internet. So [it’s] theoretically feasible,” Dudenhöffer said.
Benzinga’s Take: Data from Tesla shows that the same Tesla vehicles with autopilot enabled have far fewer accidents per mile. Now an outside researcher is finding this technology could improve the safety of drivers if all cars had the same sensors equipped. European competition does not have as advanced of systems, although Musk has mentioned that Tesla is open to licensing the tech.