• Tech - News - Tech Companies
  • Updated: April 26, 2024

Tesla Autopilot probe: NHTSA initiates new investigation

Tesla Autopilot probe: NHTSA initiates new investigation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has concluded a lengthy investigation into Tesla's Autopilot driver assistance system, reviewing numerous crashes, including 13 fatal incidents and many more causing serious injuries.

Simultaneously, the NHTSA has initiated a new probe to assess the effectiveness of Tesla's Autopilot recall fix implemented in December.

According to documents released by NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation on Friday, the agency found evidence suggesting that Tesla's Autopilot system's weak driver engagement system was not suitable for its permissive operating capabilities.

This mismatch led to a critical safety gap, resulting in foreseeable misuse and avoidable crashes.

"Tesla’s weak driver engagement system was not appropriate for Autopilot’s permissive operating capabilities.”

“This mismatch resulted in a critical safety gap between drivers’ expectations of [Autopilot’s] operating capabilities and the system’s true capabilities,” the agency wrote.

While the closure of the initial probe marks the end of a significant government effort to scrutinize Tesla's Autopilot software, the company faces continued pressure from multiple inquiries.

The Department of Justice is investigating Tesla's claims about the technology, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles has accused Tesla of falsely advertising Autopilot's capabilities. Furthermore, Tesla is facing numerous lawsuits related to Autopilot.

NHTSA's investigation reviewed 956 reported crashes until August 30, 2023, categorizing them into various scenarios.

The agency identified crashes where Tesla vehicles struck other vehicles or obstacles, crashes involving roadway departures in low-traction conditions, and crashes where Autosteer was inadvertently disengaged by the driver's inputs.

Despite Tesla's warnings for drivers to remain attentive, NHTSA and other safety groups have deemed these measures insufficient.

While Tesla agreed to issue a recall via a software update to increase driver monitoring, NHTSA's findings suggest that the update did not significantly alter Autopilot's functionality.

Moreover, NHTSA criticized gaps in Tesla's telematic data, which limit the company's awareness of crashes involving Autopilot engagement. This gap implies that Tesla collects data on only around 18% of reported crashes involving Autopilot.

"Gaps in Tesla’s telematic data create uncertainty regarding the actual rate at which vehicles operating with Autopilot engaged are involved in crashes.

"Tesla is not aware of every crash involving Autopilot even for severe crashes because of gaps in telematic reporting,” NHTSA wrote. 

The conclusion of NHTSA's investigation into Tesla's Autopilot marks a significant milestone, but ongoing concerns about the system's safety and efficacy persist, indicating continued scrutiny of Tesla's autonomous driving technology.

Related Topics

Join our Telegram platform to get news update Join Now

0 Comment(s)

See this post in...


We have selected third parties to use cookies for technical purposes as specified in the Cookie Policy. Use the “Accept All” button to consent or “Customize” button to set your cookie tracking settings