Regulatory data shows that Tesla's "autopilot" feature was involved in 273 crashes in the last year, far more than previously reported. Worse, the reason autopilot's involvement went unreported is because it turns itself off when it detects an imminent crash—something to bear in mind when looking back on all those "Autopilot was off when the crash happened"-like statements.
The new data set stems from a federal order last summer requiring automakers to report crashes involving driver assistance to assess whether the technology presented safety risks. Tesla's vehicles have been found to shut off the advanced driver-assistance system, Autopilot, around one second before impact, according to the regulators.
The NHTSA order required manufacturers to disclose crashes where the software was in use within 30 seconds of the crash, in part to mitigate the concern that manufacturers would hide crashes by claiming the software wasn't in use at the time of the impact