222 million autopilot miles to date by Teslas on freeways, 1.5 million Google AV miles in all traffic

By James Ayre, October 11th, 2016, cross-posted from Clean Technica

Tesla’s Autopilot software/feature has logged 222 million miles of use to date, going by a recent tweet from CEO Elon Musk.  To provide some context to that statement, Google has, to date, logged 1.5 million self-driving miles in its vehicles.

Of course, the comparison isn’t a direct one, as Google’s LIDAR-equipped vehicles are tested in all forms of traffic (in specific parts of California and some other locations) while Tesla’s Autopilot-equipped vehicles travel autonomously mostly only on freeways and highways.

Additionally, Tesla’s vehicles are owned or leased by actual consumers — a lot of them.  The car still transmits wireless driving data directly to Tesla and into its cloud based machine learning network. By using data sourced from drivers in the real world, engineers at Tesla are able to continuously ‘train’ the vehicle’s algorithms to predict the types of objects around a vehicle, and with increasing levels of confidence.

Cumulative Tesla Autopilot miles now at 222 million

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US automotive deaths rose 10% to 17,775 in first half of 2016, approx 1 every 88 million miles http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/u-s-traffic-deaths-jump-10-4-percent-first-half-n660241 

Photo published for U.S. traffic deaths jump by 10.4 percent in first half of 2016

U.S. traffic deaths jump by 10.4 percent in first half of 2016 U.S. traffic fatalities rose by an estimated 10.4 percent in the first half of this year, federal officials said Wednesday, nbcnews.com

Since we’re on the subject, it’s probably worth remembering here that Tesla may have to cease using the terms “Autopilot” and “self-driving” in advertising until the company is selling Level 3 autonomous driving systems. That would be the law in California, at least, per a proposal from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Teslarati provides more on the Autopilot milestone: “Tesla vehicles built since October 2014 log data from every mile driven, whether the car is operating in Autopilot mode or not. Even if an owner forgoes the purchase of Autopilot, the car still transmits wireless driving data directly to Tesla and into its cloud based machine learning network. By using data sourced from drivers in the real world, engineers at Tesla are able to continuously ‘train’ the vehicle’s algorithms to predict the types of objects around a vehicle, and with increasing levels of confidence. Aviation Week illustrates a great example of an Autopilot-equipped Model S in Australia unable to accurately identify a kangaroo. Though the vehicle originally classified Australia’s most iconic marsupial as a large dog, after months of fleet data collected from Down Under, all Tesla vehicles across the world were able to learn the behavioral characteristics of the kangaroo and properly categorize it.”

While that’s impressive, what I’m really wanting to know is when the company will begin offering a true Level 3 autonomous driving feature. What do you think, by late 2017? Or are we still a few years off? (A Level 3 system allows for fully autonomous driving in some circumstances/locations, but not all. Perhaps Level 3 driving on the highway by late 2017?)