Tesla’s Autopilot and full self-driving programs are facing increasing pressure from multiple fronts as regulators and politicians get involved.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched 38 special investigations into accidents involving Tesla vehicles, where it believes the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS), which includes Tesla’s Autopilot and full self-driving beta Programs can include both.
So far, not much has emerged in these particular investigations against Tesla. In fact, NHTSA often finds that the drivers involved weren’t paying attention—something that Tesla’s ADAS requires.
But now there is an investigation which is moving towards recall.
Last year, NHTSA announced that it was launching an investigation into Tesla Autopilot after identifying 11 accidents involving first-response vehicles.
In June 2022, NHTSA announced today that its investigation into Tesla Autopilot has been upgraded to an Engineering Analysis (EA) – one step closer to a potential recall.
Now after a few months without news about the investigation, U.S. Senator Gary Peters and Representative Jan Schakowski, both Democrats who chair subcommittees overseeing auto safety, sent a letter to NHTSA to pressure the investigation. has decided:
Reuters reported on the letter:
Lawmakers asked “Given the increasing number of deaths from accidents involving Tesla vehicles in tractor trailers… has NHTSA considered opening a defect investigation into the issue?”
“Does NHTSA strike a balance between investigative thoroughness and addressing urgent, emerging risks to motor vehicle safety,” the letter said. And if the agency has sufficient resources and legal authority to properly investigate advanced driver assistance systems.
Simultaneously, former presidential candidate Ralph Nader issued a public letter calling on NHTSA to remove FSD beta from Tesla vehicles:
I’m calling on federal regulators to take immediate action to stop the increasing deaths and injuries from accidents killing Tesla with this technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the authority to act swiftly to prevent such disasters. NHTSA has been investigating Tesla and its full self-driving technology for several years. NHTSA must use its Safety Recall Authority to order that FSD technology be removed in every Tesla.
Coincidentally, or not, Dan O’Dowd released a new ad attacking Tesla’s full self-driving beta after those new attempts to pressure regulators to shut down Tesla’s Autopilot and full self-driving beta .
The ad is running on national TV all week:
However, as we reported earlier this week, there are some serious problems with the tests caused by this ad.
Nonetheless, it appears to have successfully influenced politicians to increase pressure on NHTSA to act on Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD beta.
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