Unveiling the Tesla Mystery: NHTSA Dives into Autopilot Recall

Unveiling the Tesla Mystery: NHTSA Dives into Autopilot Recall

U.S. auto safety regulators are conducting an in-depth investigation into Tesla, seeking comprehensive responses and documentation regarding the automaker's recall of over 2 million vehicles last December to implement new Autopilot safety measures. Following reports of 20 accidents involving vehicles equipped with the Autopilot software updates from Tesla's recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an inquiry, citing "several concerns" about the recall process.

Tesla's December recall, its largest ever, encompassed 2.03 million U.S. vehicles, aiming to enhance driver attention while using its advanced driver assistance system. The NHTSA's investigation covers various Tesla models equipped with Autopilot, spanning from the 2012 to 2024 model years.

NHTSA formally requested information and documents from Tesla, setting a deadline for response by July 1. Among the aspects under scrutiny is Tesla's recall procedure, particularly the customization of Autopilot activation via a single or double pull of the drive stalk. NHTSA noted that single-pull activation "is not the default setting" on updated vehicles, and testing revealed the potential for altering this setting while driving.

Tesla has also introduced additional updates to address accidents, including those involving high-speed captive turn lane collisions, which were not part of the initial recall.

NHTSA pledged to examine the timing and rationale behind these updates, their impact on vehicle performance, and Tesla's justification for their exclusion from the recall.

In prior statements, NHTSA underscored concerns about "Tesla’s weak driver engagement system" not aligning with Autopilot's operating capabilities, resulting in a "critical safety gap."

The ongoing Autopilot safety probe, initiated in August 2021, has identified at least 13 Tesla accidents involving fatalities and numerous others with severe injuries, where "foreseeable driver misuse of the system played an apparent role."

NHTSA emphasized that Tesla's December recall permits drivers to easily reverse the software update.


News from: https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/us-seeks-answers-tesla-autopilot-recall-probe-2024-05-07/ 

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