Tesla autopilot under US investigation after series of crashes

The federal government’s main auto safety agency has launched an official investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system ...


The federal government’s main auto safety agency has launched an official investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system due to growing concerns that he may not see parked emergency vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was aware of 11 accidents since 2018 in which Tesla vehicles operating under autopilot control collided with fire trucks, police cars and other vehicles with flashing lights that were stopped along roadsides. Seven of these accidents resulted in a total of 17 injuries and one death.

“Most of the incidents took place after dark and the accident scenes encountered included scene control measures such as first responder vehicle fires, flares, an illuminated arrow sign and traffic cones. route, “the security agency said in a summary of the investigation.

The new investigation appears to be the broadest examination to date of how autopilot works and its flaws. It could ultimately be used by the security agency to force Tesla to recall cars and make system changes.

A critical issue investigators will focus on is how the autopilot ensures that Tesla drivers pay attention to the road. The company’s owner’s manuals instruct drivers to keep their hands on the wheel, but the system continues to work even if drivers only occasionally tap the steering wheel.

General Motors has a similar system, called Super Cruise, which allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel, but uses an infrared camera to monitor drivers’ eyes to make sure they are looking at the road.

The security agency will also look at how the autopilot identifies objects on the road and where the autopilot can be activated. Tesla tells drivers to use the system only on divided highways, but they can use it on city streets. GM’s system uses GPS positioning to restrict its use to major highways that do not have oncoming or cross traffic, intersections, pedestrians or cyclists.

Tesla’s autopilot system appears to have difficulty detecting and braking for parked cars generally including passenger cars and trucks without flashing lights. In July, for example, Tesla crashed into parked sport utility vehicle at the site of a previous accident. The driver had the autopilot on and fell asleep and then failed a field sobriety test, the California Highway Patrol said.

The security agency’s investigation will cover Tesla Y, X, S and 3 models from the 2014 to 2021 model years, totaling 765,000 cars, a vast majority of the cars the company made in the United States during this period.

The agency has already opened investigations into more than two dozen accidents involving Tesla cars and an autopilot. The agency said eight of those crashes resulted in a total of 10 fatalities. These investigations aim to delve into the details of individual cases in order to provide data and information that the agency and automakers can use to improve safety or identify problems.

Tesla and its chief executive, Elon Musk, dismissed safety concerns about autopilot and claimed the system made its cars safer than others on the road. But the company has recognized that the system can sometimes fail to recognize stopped emergency vehicles.

Safety experts, videos posted on social media, and Tesla drivers themselves have documented some of the weaknesses of autopilot. In some crashes involving the system, Teslas drivers have been found asleep at the wheel or were awake but distracted or disengaged. A Californian was arrested in May after get out of the driver’s seat of your Tesla while on autopilot; he was sitting in the back of her car as she crossed the Bay Bridge, which connects San Francisco and Oakland.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which has investigated a few accidents involving autopilot, said last year that the company’s “ineffective monitoring of driver engagement” contributed to a 2018 accident that killed Wei Huang, the driver of a Model X that collided with a freeway barrier in Mountain View, California. “It’s time to stop allowing drivers of any partially automated vehicle to pretend they have driverless cars,” said Robert L. Sumwalt, chairman of the board. year.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Tesla autopilot under US investigation after series of crashes
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