Tesla under control over lack of booster after autopilot update

The main federal auto safety regulator sent Tesla two letters this week, raising questions about the company’s driver assistance softwar...

The main federal auto safety regulator sent Tesla two letters this week, raising questions about the company’s driver assistance software systems and asking the automaker to provide more comprehensive information.

The regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is investigating why Tesla did not issue a recall last month when it updated software called Autopilot to improve its ability to spot stopped emergency vehicles such as police cars and fire engines.

The agency also ordered Tesla to provide data on software the company calls Full Self-Driving and expressed concern that Tesla would block customers from sharing safety information with the agency.

These measurements suggest that the NHTSA is taking a closer look at Tesla’s driver assistance features and the gap between their names and capabilities.

“I appreciate now that NHTSA is taking a few steps forward, but it should have happened before,” Jennifer Homendy, chair of another federal agency, the National Transportation Safety Board, said in a recent interview. “It has to happen faster, because otherwise you are risking people’s lives. “

The safety council investigates the causes of automobile, train, plane and other transportation accidents, but has no regulatory power over manufacturers, as does NHTSA.

Concerns about the autopilot – a system of cameras and other sensors that can steer, brake and accelerate with little driver intervention – have increased as the technology sometimes fails to detect objects or other vehicles. Despite the name, Autopilot does not allow autonomous driving, and Ms. Homendy’s agency said the technology lack of safeguards to ensure that drivers remain alert and in control.

Fully autonomous driving is a more advanced system that Tesla has allowed a small group of owners to test on public roads. But neither is he capable of driving a car without the active engagement of a human driver.

In August, the NHTSA opened a formal investigation in 12 crashes in which Tesla cars running on autopilot failed to detect stopped emergency vehicles with flashing lights in low light conditions. An accident killed a passenger. Other autopilot crashes have killed 10 people since 2016, according to data compiled by NHTSA.

Tesla and its chief executive, Elon Musk, said the autopilot was not faulty, insisting it makes cars much safer than others on the road, and they dismissed criticism of the company’s design process. But NHTSA is now questioning whether Tesla’s software improvements escape regulatory scrutiny.

Normally, automakers issue recalls and owners take their cars to dealerships for repairs or upgrades. But Tesla can modify its cars by sending them software updates over the Internet.

In a letter from Tuesday, NHTSA reminded Tesla That federal law require automakers to issue formal recalls if they discover faults that pose a safety risk, so owners and NHTSA are notified of the fixes.

“Any manufacturer posting a live update that alleviates a defect that poses an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety is required to timely file a recall notice with NHTSA,” the agency said in a letter. to Tesla.

NHTSA has asked the company to provide detailed information about a software update, sent in late September, that altered the autopilot and improved its ability to detect hazard lights.

The letter asked Tesla to indicate whether it intended to issue a recall related to the update and, if not, any legal or technical reasons it refused to do so.

This letter was sent by Gregory Magno, head of NHTSA’s Vehicle Defects Division in its Defect Investigation Office, to Eddie Gates, Tesla’s Field Quality Manager.

In a separate letter to a senior Tesla lawyer, NHTSA ordered the company to disclose the number of owners who received full self-driving software as part of a beta test, to provide copies of any nondisclosure agreements it has Have these testers sign and explain if conditions would prevent owners from reporting any safety concerns to NHTSA.

Because consumers are an important source of information for the agency, “any agreement that may prevent or deter participants of the Early Access Beta Program from reporting safety concerns to NHTSA is unacceptable,” said the ‘agency. “In addition, even the limitations on public sharing of certain information negatively impact NHTSA’s ability to obtain safety relevant information. “

Tesla did not respond to emails seeking comment on this article.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Tesla under control over lack of booster after autopilot update
Tesla under control over lack of booster after autopilot update
Newsrust - US Top News
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