Last August, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is the U.S. auto safety regulator, opened a formal safety investigation into Tesla’s autopilot system. This investigation follows a series of accidents involving Tesla models and emergency or priority vehicles.
Indeed, to date, the NHTSA has documented 12 accidents involving Tesla cars using advanced driver assistance systems and emergency vehicles. In September, NHTSA asked Tesla about the feature distribution on some of its models.
The regulator also recommended software changes to be made to these Tesla car models to improve their ability to detect emergency vehicles. However, it looks like the automaker doesn’t care.
Tesla ignores NHTSA recommendations yet
According to Reuters information, NHTSA has just sent a letter to Tesla in which it asks the automaker to explain why it has not yet recalled the affected Tesla car models to bring the software modifications required for the Autopilot driver assistance system.
The goal would be for vehicles to be able to detect emergency vehicle lights even in low light conditions and respond with driver alerts and vehicle gear changes while Autopilot mode is engaged.
Nondisclosure agreement would prevent drivers from talking badly about FSD functionality
Separately, the NHTSA pointed out that the law states that automakers are required to issue a vehicle recall when ” the vehicles or equipment they have produced contain defects related to motor vehicle safety or do not comply with a safety standard applicable to motor vehicles ».
Tesla is expected to respond to NHTSA letter by 1is November 2021. But so far, the automaker has not commented on the matter. Along with this issue of non-recognition of emergency vehicles, NHTSA has also raised concerns about Full Self-Driving (FSD) and the use of this beta by drivers on public roads.
NHTSA particularly highlighted that participants signed non-disclosure agreements that would prevent them from speaking negatively about the FSD feature. For the regulator, this represents limitations which have ” negatively impact NHTSA’s ability to obtain safety relevant information ».