Tesla’s use of the “Autopilot” driver assistance system is increasingly being targeted by the US transport authorities. The regulators want to know from the electric car manufacturer why an update to prevent rear-end accidents with fire and ambulance vehicles standing on the roadside was not declared a recall. They also have questions about tests of a new “Autopilot” version with more functions by Tesla customers.
In the letter to Tesla published on Wednesday, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) pointed out, among other things, that automakers are obliged to call a recall within five days in the event of safety-related problems. The group should now give reasons by November 1, why it waived it.
Eleven accidents involving ambulances
The authority has been investigating eleven incidents since the summer between January 2018 and July 2021 in which Tesla’s electric cars ran into parked ambulances. According to the NHTSA, there were 17 injuries and one death. The “autopilot” system was switched on in all affected Tesla vehicles.
In September Tesla published an update to the “Autopilot” software, thanks to which it should recognize the vehicles with their distinctive sight lights even in difficult lighting conditions.
Autopilot is only an assistance system
The group itself pointed out that “Autopilot” is only a driver assistance system and that the driver always has to keep his hands on the wheel and keep an eye on the traffic situation. “Autopilot” can, for example, keep the lane and the distance to the vehicle in front. (dpa / swi)
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