Tesla, among other things, is advancing the global shift to sustainable energy through electric vehicles, solar energy, and integrated renewable power solutions for households. As a result, given how innovative the industry is, they would have access to a wide range of development choices, which also come with some level of responsibility.
As part of an investigation into the 830,000 Tesla automobiles that use the automaker’s cutting-edge driver assistance system, Autopilot, U.S. auto safety authorities on Thursday questioned Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) about an in-car cam intended to check driver awareness.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified a dozen collisions in which Tesla vehicles collided with stationary emergency vehicles and is now evaluating the effectiveness of Autopilot.
It escalated its inquiry to an engineering analysis in June, which was a necessary step before it would ask for a recall.
Tesla must respond to NHTSA’s nine-page letter by October 12 with information regarding the use of the cabin camera in enforcing driver engagement and attention.
When Autopilot is activated, Tesla claims that the cabin camera, which is a camera mounted above the rearview mirror, can identify driver inattention and issue sound alerts to urge the driver to maintain their eyes on the road.
According to NHTSA, it is interested in learning about how the cabin camera affects the types and timing of driver engagement alerts as well as any recoverable data that would indicate this influence.
The organisation claimed it demanded an explanation of the reasoning behind design choices made regarding driver engagement regulation, including the data supporting the length of time a driver is allowed to take their hands off the wheel before being warned.
The regulatory body is examining whether Tesla cars do enough to guarantee that drivers are paying much attention. Evidence revealed that the majority of the drivers in the crashes under examination had followed Tesla’s warning method, the agency said in June, raising concerns about the strategy’s efficacy.
A request for clarification was not answered by Tesla, which has shut down its press department.
When Consumer Reports tested Tesla’s user attention monitoring camera in late 2021, it concluded that it was insufficient to guarantee that the driver was fully focused while utilising Autopilot & Full Self Driving (FSD) functions.
A magazine revealed that if the in-cabin camera were blocked, neither the car’s systems nor its speed would be reduced or turned off.
Consumer Reports reported in June that the manufacturer had put in place an over-the-air upgrade that sent out a caution when the camera was covered when FSD was activated but not when Autopilot was engaged.
While FSD enables cars to obey traffic signals & make lane changes, Autopilot is designed to allow cars to steer, accelerate, and halt autonomously inside their lane.
Along with the defect inquiry, the NHTSA has launched 38 special investigations into fatal crashes in Tesla vehicles when Autopilot or other cutting-edge technology were allegedly engaged since 2016. Investigations into those Tesla-related incidents have revealed a total of 19 fatalities.
Separately, the state of California’s department of transportation has charged Tesla with misrepresenting the characteristics as ones that enable autonomous vehicle management.
In notices sent to the state that were made public on Thursday, Tesla stated that it is requesting a hearing on the accusations and expects to make a defence.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles is requesting redress, which may entail ordering Tesla to pay drivers’ restitution and suspending the company’s ability to sell cars in the state.