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News: 'Extensive' Tesla Autopilot probe proceeding quickly, U.S. official says

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'Extensive' Tesla Autopilot probe proceeding quickly, U.S. official says

'Extensive' Tesla Autopilot probe proceeding quickly, U.S. official says

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Pictured is a Tesla Model S during a Tesla event in Palo Alto, California on October 14, 2015. (Beck Diefenbach/Reuters/CNN)
  • David Shepardson
Updated Jan. 10, 2023 11:45 a.m. EST
Published Jan. 10, 2023 11:22 a.m. EST

The acting head of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) told reporters on Monday that the regulatory agency is 'working really fast' on the Tesla Autopilot investigation it opened in August 2021.

"We're investing a lot of resources," said NHTSA acting head Ann Carlson in comments to reporters on the sidelines of an event in Washington. She declined to commit to a particular timeframe on when the probe will be resolved. "The resources require a lot of technical expertise, actually some legal noveltyand so we're moving as quickly as we can, but we also want to be careful and make sure we have all the information we need."

In June, NHTSA upgraded to an engineering analysis its defect probe into 830,000 Tesla vehicles with driver assistance system Autopilot and involving crashes with parked emergency vehicles. That step was necessary before the agency could demand a recall.

NHTSA is reviewing whether Tesla vehicles adequately ensure drivers are paying attention. Previously, the agency said evidence suggested drivers in most crashes under review had complied with Tesla's alert strategy that seeks to compel driver attention, raising questions about its effectiveness.

Carlson confirmed the agency was in discussions with Tesla about a Dec. 31 tweet that Chief Executive Elon Musk wrote about a driver monitoring function.

Carlson, who has been general counsel of the agency since early 2021, became acting administrator of NHTSA in September.

A Dec. 31 tweet suggested drivers with more than 10,000 miles using Tesla's "Full Self-Driving" (FSD) software system should be able to disable the "steering wheel nag," an alert that instructs drivers to hold the wheel to confirm they are paying attention. Musk responded: "Agreed, update coming in Jan."

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There is need for hardware not just software...
If that’s the case, they may have to just disable the autopilot software altogether…
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I noticed the other day that Mercedes just released the first true self driving vehicle in the USA… I believe when the system is active that Mercedes assumes legal responsibility for the vehicle’s actions when the system is active. And when using the system, the driver may watch tv or read emails, etc… and the car has to give them a certain amount of warning before it requires them to take over.

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