(Bloomberg) — Derek Monet and his wife, Gina, were driving down an Indiana highway in 2019 when His Tesla Model 3 sedan, which was on autopilot, crashed Against a parked fire truck. Derek, then 25, suffered fractures to his spine, neck, shoulders, ribs and legs. Gina, 23, died in hospital.
This incident was one of dozens in the past four years in which Teslas using this driver assistance system collided with first responder vehicles, resulting in Doubts about technology security Considered by the world’s most valuable automobile company and one of its crown jewels.
Now, US regulators are applying a Higher level of autopilot audit. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has the authority to enforce the recalls, has opened two formal investigations into the flaws that could eventually result in Tesla having to adapt cars and restrict the use of autopilot in situations where it is not yet safe.
Autopilot campaign It could denigrate Tesla among consumers and scare off investors whose faith in the company’s goodwill has helped make Tesla CEO Elon Musk the richest person in the world. That could affect confidence in a technology that auto and other software companies are spending billions to develop in hopes of reversing the worrying trend of rising traffic deaths in the United States.
It could also intensify long-standing tensions between Washington and Tesla. The rebellious Musk had already ridiculed the NHTSA as a “killjoy police” and worried about President Joe Biden’s unwillingness to praise the pioneering company. He doesn’t shy away from criticizing lawmakers and regulators on Twitter, the social media platform he offered to buy for $43 billion.
Tesla, which is publishing its results later this week, has recently Indomitable aura. With bigger rivals hit by a global chip shortage and other disruptions caused by the pandemic, the electric car maker has been able to ramp up production dramatically. A government agency that is poorly funded and slow to run is one of the few obstacles that threatens to derail them.
Musk and Tesla did not respond to requests for comment. “Making our cars safer is fundamental to our corporate culture and how we innovate with new technologies,” Rohan Patel, Tesla’s senior director of public policy and business development, wrote in a March letter to lawmakers.
The NHTSA campaign will come after repeated calls by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the independent crash investigation agency, for tighter controls on motorized vehicles. The NTSB, which does not have the power to force automakers to follow its recommendations, has suggested that Tesla adopt the automated driving system safety measures that General Motors and Ford Motor Company have adopted for its systems. Tesla did not respond to NTSB directives and instead continued its more risky approach.
“Basically, we have the Old West on our roads now.”NTSB chief Jennifer Homedy said in an interview. It describes Tesla’s introduction of marketed features such as autopilot and fully autonomous driving as artificial intelligence experiences using untrained operators. “It is a disaster that will happen at any moment.”
Tesla autopilot raises alarm in US as ‘disaster waiting to happen’
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