NHTSA asks Tesla why it didn't initiate a recall when it pushed safety-related software update

3 days ago

A Tesla operating successful the vehicle's driver-assist strategy known arsenic Autopilot struck a constabulary car March 17, 2021 successful Michigan, officials said successful a tweet.

Michigan State Police

A national conveyance information authorization is asking Tesla to explicate wherefore it didn't initiate a callback erstwhile it pushed a safety-related bundle update to customers successful September.

The update enabled Tesla vehicles to amended observe exigency conveyance lights successful debased airy conditions, according to a letter from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to Tesla published to the authorities agency's website connected Wednesday.

Tesla's "Emergency Light Detection Update" was delivered via an over-the-air bundle update to customers' cars a fewer weeks aft NHTSA initiated a probe into imaginable information defects with Tesla Autopilot, the company's standard, operator assistance package.

Tesla besides sells a premium mentation of its operator assistance strategy nether the marque sanction FSD, oregon Full Self-Driving, for $10,000 up beforehand oregon $199 per month. None of Tesla's systems marque their cars harmless for usage without a quality operator down the instrumentality astatine each times. They are "level 2" operator assistance systems, not afloat autonomous conveyance technologies.

As CNBC antecedently reported, NHTSA identified astir a twelve collisions that progressive Tesla drivers crashing into archetypal responders' vehicles portion they were parked connected the broadside of the road, typically astatine nighttime oregon successful the pre-dawn hours of morning. In each of the incidents identified by NHTSA, the Tesla drivers had Autopilot oregon postulation alert cruise power features engaged earlier the crash. One of the crashes resulted successful a fatality.

NHTSA wants to cognize if Autopilot defects oregon plan issues contributed to oregon caused those crashes. And present they besides privation to cognize if Tesla's bundle update efficaciously served arsenic a stealth recall.

If the bureau deems Autopilot defective, it could mandate a callback and interaction Tesla's nationalist image. Such a uncovering could besides animate greater urgency astir standing and regulating operator assistance systems similar Tesla's.

Currently, NHTSA issues an yearly New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) standing connected the crashworthiness of vehicles sold successful the US. NCAP ratings database features that are included successful each vehicle, but the bureau doesn't yet complaint the information of, oregon bounds the usage of operator assistance systems similar Tesla's.

As portion of its Tesla probe, NHTSA is evaluating 12 different car makers' comparable systems.

NHTSA's Gregory Magno the agency's main of conveyance defects division, told Tesla's Director of Field Quality Eddie Gates successful the caller missive that automakers are required to notify NHTSA wrong 5 concern days erstwhile they go alert of (or should person go alert of) information issues successful their vehicles that necessitate a fix.

Over-the-air bundle updates are covered by existent national callback laws, Magno emphasized.

The bureau besides asked Tesla for details connected its expanding FSD Beta program.

The programme gives Tesla owners who are not trained information drivers a accidental to trial pre-release software, and caller operator assistance features connected nationalist roads successful the US. The FSD Beta bundle does not marque Tesla vehicles driverless, and has not been de-bugged capable for wide usage and wide release.

Among different things, NHTSA requested elaborate records connected however Tesla rates and selects participants successful the experimental, aboriginal entree program.

Recently, Tesla added a "beta button" that allows immoderate lawsuit to petition entree to an FSD Beta download. It besides released an security calculator that gives drivers seeking FSD Beta entree a "safety score."

Tesla owners who scored 100 implicit a week of driving astatine slightest 100 miles were fixed entree to FSD Beta this week expanding the programme by astir 1,000 people, according to CEO Elon Musk who remarked connected the fig astatine an yearly shareholder gathering past week.

Vehicle information advocates, including the National Transportation Safety Board, person called connected NHTSA to regulate systems similar Tesla's Autopilot, FSD and FSD Beta sooner alternatively than later.