The US federal agency in charge of road safety, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been reported to have opened an official investigation into Tesla’s “self-driving” Autopilot system.
The NHTSA said it was opening a preliminary investigation into the technologies and methods used to monitor, assist, and enforce the driver’s engagement while using Autopilot System of Telsa.
The investigation will cover roughly 765,000 Tesla cars made since 2014 which includes those in the Model Y, Model X, Model S and Model 3.
The agency was primarily concerned with an apparent inability of Tesla vehicles to cope with vehicles stopped in the road – specifically emergency vehicles attending an incident.
Recall that top of the cases prompted the investigation was one where a Tesla “ploughed into the rear” of a parked fire engine attending an accident, and another in which a parked police car was struck.
It said that in the 11 crashes that prompted its investigation, either Autopilot or a system called Traffic Aware Cruise Control had been active “just prior” to the collisions.Tesla has marketed the feature as an “Autopilot” and promised “full self-driving”, which is now available to some users in a beta version.
However, it has come under fire for being misleading, as it does not automatically drive the car and drivers are required to maintain control and attention at all times.
A spokesperson of US safety agency said that there is no commercially motor vehicles as of today that is are capable of driving themselves and that available vehicle requires a human driver to be in control at all times.
Telsa’s Chief executive Elon Musk had previously announced 19 August as “Tesla AI Day”, which he said would showcase the progress of the firm’s artificial intelligence systems – with a view to recruiting AI experts to the firm.
However, this statement hasn’t been confirmed as Tesla has disbanded its public relations team in October 2020 and cannot be reached for comment.