Tesla’s “self-driving” Autopilot technology is the subject of an official inquiry by the US government agency in charge of road safety. Following 11 Tesla collisions involving emergency vehicles in 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it was taking action.
In some cases, the Tesla vehicles “crashed directly into the vehicles of first responders”, it said.
Approximately 765,000 Tesla vehicles have been produced since 2014.
According to the NHTSA, this encompasses the whole current range of Tesla Model Y, Model X, Model S, and Model 3.
The agency was mostly worried about Tesla vehicles’ apparent incapacity to deal with stopped vehicles on the road, particularly emergency vehicles responding to an accident.
A Tesla “ploughed into the rear” of a parked fire engine responding to an accident, while another damaged a parked police car, according to the list. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the start of a preliminary inquiry into “the technologies and methods used to monitor, assist, and enforce the driver’s engagement” while using Autopilot.
It claimed that either Autopilot or a feature dubbed Traffic-Aware Cruise Control was activated “just before” the 11 crashes that sparked the inquiry.
Tesla Autopilot was ‘tricked’ into working without the presence of a driver.
The Tesla driver was ‘playing a video game’ when he crashed.
The automobile can autonomously steer, accelerate, and halt thanks to assistive technology.
However, it has been criticized for being deceptive, as it does not automatically operate the automobile, and drivers must always retain control and attention.
Tesla has dubbed the function “Autopilot” and promised “full self-driving,” which is already available in a test form to certain consumers.
After being discovered in the passenger seat in Encinitas, this motorist earned a suspension. Users have already exploited the system, with examples ranging from using their phones while the car is driving unattended to swapping car seats and leaving no driver behind the wheel.
In a statement, an NHTSA spokesperson said: “No commercially available motor vehicles today are capable of driving themselves. Every available vehicle requires a human driver to be in control at all times.”
However, several of the crashes had difficult conditions, according to the investigation’s supporting papers.
It says, “Most incidents took place after dark and the crash scenes encountered included scene control measures such as first responder vehicle lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board, and road cones.”
It comes only days before an event showcasing the automaker’s software.
Elon Musk, the company’s CEO, had earlier declared August 19 as “Tesla AI Day,” in which he stated the company’s artificial intelligence systems will be showcased in order to recruit AI specialists.
Tesla’s public relations staff was abolished in October 2020, and the company could not be reached for comment.