Unless there is some sort of tragic accident or some jackass performing a stunt in a YouTube video, Telsa Autopilot doesn't get nearly the amount of attention as (1) Elon Musk boring holes, (2) Uber returning to self-driving car research, or (3) Elon Musk tweeting.
Yet day by day, the number of actual road miles being accumulated by the Autopilot system is rather remarkable, according to research conducted by MIT's Lex Fridman and his colleagues, who are involved in human-centered AI research, including autonomous driving.
According to Fridman, as of December 23, 2018, there were 1,056,505,935 miles driven with Autopilot engaged. Of those miles, 581,495,817 were driven using the Autopilot hardware version 1, which went into operation on October 15, 2015. The balance, 475,010,118, were driven using Autopilot hardware version 2+, which was enabled on January 21, 2017.
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The numbers are based on an estimate of miles traveled per vehicle per day, which is calculated to be 32.29 miles. Then the number of miles driven with Autopilot engaged is calculated, which is 4.69 miles, or 14.5 percent of the miles driven daily.
One interesting data point is that the number of miles driven with Autopilot engaged was estimated to be 7.91 miles per day in November 2016. Fridman says that this can be accounted for by the likelihood that a small percentage of Model 3 buyers have opted for the enhanced Autopilot option, which can run from $5,000 to $6,000.
That said, Friman estimates that by January 1, 2020, there will be 2,350,446,445 Autopilot miles driven.
Yes, not just 2.3 billion. After all, we're talking MIT researchers.