© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Tesla Model 3 vehicle drives autonomously along the 405 freeway in Westminster, California, U.S., March 16, 2022. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. auto safety regulators in April 2021 asked Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc about incidents involving its cars hitting an emergency vehicle parked in when using Autopilot several months before opening a formal investigation, according to a recently published letter.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sent Tesla an 8-page letter seeking https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/inv/2022/INIM-EA22002-87961P.pdf a meeting and answers “to appreciate recent incidents and to better understand how Tesla’s planned updates will enhance driver attention and reduce crash risk touching stationary emergency vehicles.”
NHTSA opened a formal preliminary assessment in August https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/inv/2021/INOA-PE21020-1893.PDF of 765,000 vehicles after about a dozen crashes, of which Tesla vehicles made an emergency stop when using Autopilot driver assistance system. Earlier this month, NHTSA upgraded the probe https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/inv/2022/INOA-EA22002-3184.PDF to a total of 830,000 Tesla vehicles with Autopilot to technical analysis, one step Mandatory may previously seek a revocation. NHTSA said this month it has identified six more accidents involving ambulances.
NHTSA has not yet released Tesla’s response, which has a deadline of May 2021. Tesla has repeatedly searched https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/inv/2022/INME-EA22002-87973P.pdf how to proceed. confidential for submission to NHTSA.
Tesla, which has disbanded its press office, did not respond to a request for comment. NHTSA did not immediately respond to whether Tesla would meet with the agency following an April request.
The April 2021 letter seeks details on Autopilot sales, usage and crash statistics, all planned updates, and a “detailed chronology of changes made.” present for monitoring the driver’s status.” It covers the seven crashes with emergency vehicles that were on the NHTSA’s list for August, and also seeks answers about five other “inattentive driver” crashes.
NHTSA questioned the actions of drivers in those crashes and “the influence, if any, that Tesla’s recently proposed countermeasures had on the outcome of the incident.”
The auto safety agency said in June evidence showed drivers in most of the crashes under review followed Tesla’s warning strategy to get drivers’ attention, question its effectiveness.
NHTSA has reported 16 crashes, including seven injuries and one death, involving a Tesla vehicle in autopilot mode that crashed into a first responder and a stationary road maintenance vehicle. .
Tesla says Autopilot allows vehicles to brake and steer autonomously in their lanes, but does not make them capable of self-driving.