The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it would upgrade the probe to an 830,000 Tesla vehicle with the advanced driver assistance system Autopilot, a necessary step before it could be recalled.
A Reuters report said the auto safety agency opened a preliminary assessment last August to assess system performance after a dozen crashes in 765,000 vehicles when Tesla vehicles struck parked ambulances and said it had detected six additional crashes last night.
NHTSA is updating its investigation with an engineering analysis of what it needs to do before it deems it necessary to request a recall, the news agency said.
The safety regulator will consider whether Tesla cars adequately ensure drivers’ attention. The agency added evidence that drivers adhered to Tesla’s warning strategy during most of the crashes discussed, trying to get the driver’s attention and questions about its effectiveness.
In 2020, the National Transportation Safety Board criticized Tesla for “ineffective driver engagement monitoring” following the 2018 autopilot fatal crash, saying the NHTSA had provided “scant oversight.”
The NHTSA said the upgrade is “an extension of existing crash analysis, additional data set assessments, vehicle assessments and the degree of investigation by which Autopilot and related Tesla systems can enhance human factors or behavioral safety risks by undermining the effectiveness of driver oversight.” . ”
Tesla, which disbanded its press offices, did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
NHTSA said it has reports of 16 accidents, including seven injured and one fatal, involving autopilot Tesla vehicles that struck stationary first responders and road maintenance vehicles.
The NHTSA said its analysis showed that the previous collision warning had been activated in most incidents before the collision and that further automatic emergency braking had intervened in about half of the crashes.
“On average during these accidents, the autopilot stopped controlling the car one second before the first collision,” the agency added, according to Reuters.
The NHTSA noted that “where video of the incident was available, the approach of the first respondent to the scene would be visible to the driver for an average of eight seconds before the collision.”
The agency also reviewed 106 autopilot crashes, saying that in about half, “there were signs that the driver was not responding well to the needs of a dynamic steering task.”
“The use or misuse of vehicle components by the driver, or the unforeseen operation of the vehicle does not necessarily rule out a system defect,” the agency said.
The NHTSA also found that in about a quarter of the 106 crashes, the main cause of the crash appears to be related to system performance, with Tesla saying restrictions may exist in areas such as roads other than restricted highways, or in a visibility environment that includes factors such as rain. , Snow or ice.
Tesla says autopilot allows cars to brake and drive automatically in their lane, but does not allow them to drive themselves.
An NHTSA spokesman told Reuters that advanced driving features could help ensure safety “helps drivers avoid accidents and reduce the severity of accidents, but like all technology and equipment in vehicles, drivers must use them properly and responsibly.”
Last week, the NHTSA said it had asked Tesla to answer questions by June 20 after it received 758 alerts about an unexpected autopilot-related brake during a separate review of 416,000 new vehicles.
Separately, NHTSA has opened 35 special accident investigations into Tesla car-related incidents suspected of using autopilot or other advanced systems, including 14 deaths since 2016, including an accident that killed three people in California last month.
The NHTSA asked dozens of other automakers, including General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen, to answer questions about “driver engagement and attention-grabbing strategies” during the Tesla investigation into driver assistance systems, but their responses were not released. Added Reuters.
NHTSA will upgrade Tesla’s autopilot probe
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