The federal government’s probe into Tesla Autopilot has entered a new phase
The federal government is expanding its probe into more than a dozen accidents in which Tesla vehicles using Autopilot collided with emergency vehicles. The investigation has now been renamed “Engineering Analysis,” which is the second and final stage of an investigation before a possible recall.
This phase will include additional tests and crash analyses “to investigate the extent to which Autopilot and associated Tesla systems may exacerbate human factors or behavioral safety risks by undermining the effectiveness of the driver’s supervision,” according to documents posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website on Thursday.
The NHTSA is also increasing the number of Tesla vehicles potentially affected by the probe from 765,000 to 830,000. The investigation focuses on Tesla Model S, X, 3, and Y automobiles manufactured between 2014 and 2021.
The agency is investigating 16 collisions in which Tesla owners using Autopilot collided with stationary emergency vehicles, resulting in 15 injuries and one death. The software ignored scene control measures such as warning lights, flares, cones, and an illuminated arrow board in the majority of these accidents, which occurred after dark.
The probe was begun for the first time in August 2021. Since then, the NHTSA has requested information from Tesla and 12 other manufacturers on their Level 2 driver assist systems, which allow the car to regulate steering, braking, and accelerating on particular road types at the same time.
The agency is looking for information on kilometers driven as well as crash reports. Separately, the NHTSA is gathering crash data from a larger group of firms that make driver assist systems and fully autonomous vehicles.
According to the NHTSA’s preliminary analysis, the majority of crashes included emergency vehicles that were visible to the driver on average eight seconds before the crash. “On average, Autopilot aborted vehicle control less than one second before the first impact in these crashes,” the government writes.
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