Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tech & Science

Tesla under fresh scrutiny over assisted driving features

The US highway safety watchdog has pushed Tesla for details about its driver-assistance systems.

Tesla is facing new questions from regulators about the self-driving features of its electric cars. — © AFP
Tesla is facing new questions from regulators about the self-driving features of its electric cars. — © AFP

The US highway safety watchdog has pushed Tesla for details about its driver-assistance systems, specifically whether it has barred some people testing the features from reporting possible safety concerns.

As part of a preliminary probe opened after a series of accidents with emergency vehicles, the regulator on Tuesday ordered Elon Musk’s electric car company to provide information about confidentiality agreements with drivers who have been testing a new feature since October 2020.

The feature, called Full Self-Driving (FSD), is designed to allow the cars to detect stop signs and turn at intersections, while the existing Autopilot function is mainly used to manage speed and keep the vehicle in a lane.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) cited reports saying the confidentiality agreements “allegedly limit the participants from sharing information about FSD that portrays the feature negatively.”

The agency relies in part on driver-reported feedback to assess potential safety defects.

“Any agreement that may prevent or dissuade participants in the early access beta release program from reporting safety concerns to NHTSA is unacceptable,” the agency wrote in a letter to Tesla, setting a November 1 deadline for the company to respond.

In a separate letter, NHTSA asked Tesla to explain why it has not initiated a recall of vehicles after updating its driver assistance software to improve the detection of emergency vehicle lights at night.

Manufacturers are obliged to recall vehicles once they have identified defects related to safety, NHTSA said.

The agency also asked how the company picked the drivers who early this month began testing a new version of its self-driving system, nicknamed FSD Beta 10.2.

Musk announced on Twitter on Monday that this version was being rolled out to drivers the company considers the safest.

The Autopilot system has been the subject of controversy after a series of accidents involving the electric vehicles.

Tesla’s move to test beta versions of new assistance features in real-world conditions with ordinary drivers but without seeking official permission is further fueling the controversy.

Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

You may also like:

World

Eleven masterpieces by Pablo Picasso fetched $108.9 million at a Sotheby's auction in Las Vegas on Saturday. 

World

The migrants began heading west and north toward the U.S. border, pushing past a line of state police who were trying to stop them.

Life

It seems that Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo just can't keep his name out of the news spotlight.

World

Kyaw Min Yu pictured on his release from prison in 2012 - Copyright ${image.metadata.node.credit} ${image.metadata.node.creator}An activist who rose to prominence during Myanmar’s 1988 student...