Tesla, headed by Elon Musk, is under intense scrutiny over the controversial Autopilot driver assistance system, which is believed to have caused the death of scores of people. Federal and state regulators have ratcheted up the pressure on the electric car maker. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has upgraded its investigation from a preliminary assessment to a technical analysis, asking Tesla to answer questions about its cabin camera as part of an investigation into the 830,000 Tesla vehicles. which include autopilot.
“Describe the role the cabin camera plays in enforcing driver engagement/attention and how its data feeds into the operation of the affected system,” the US regulator said in a letter to Tesla Thursday night.
The letter asked Tesla to provide information on the impact on alert types and timing of driver engagement and how it fits into existing engagement strategy; on the retrievable data elements indicating its influence, either by telemetry or from the vehicle’s on-board storage; and the impact on driver alerts and retrievable data if the driver does not choose to share camera data with Tesla.
Elon Musk denies the departure of Tesla’s chief legal officer.
According to Tesla, the cabin camera can determine driver inattention and provide audible alerts to remind them to keep their eyes on the road when Autopilot is activated.
Tesla introduced its camera-based driver monitoring system in May last year. NHTSA is investigating at least 16 crashes in which Tesla owners potentially engaged Autopilot and then crashed into stationary emergency vehicles, resulting in 15 injuries and one death.
“Describe in detail the technical and safety explanation and evidence of the design decisions regarding the application of driver engagement/attention during the operation of the subject system in the subject vehicles,” the agency said. transports.
Earlier this month, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) accused the Tesla company, run by Musk, of making false claims about its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) features.
The agency said in its filing that Tesla is “misleadingly implying” that cars equipped with the technology can operate autonomously. Tesla has now responded, asking the California DMV for a hearing to present a defense to allegations that it misled potential customers, TechCrunch reports.
The California DMV filed two separate complaints, alleging that Tesla made “false or misleading” statements about the self-driving capabilities of its vehicles. Former US presidential candidate Ralph Nader called Tesla’s FSD technology “the most dangerous and irresponsible” action by an automaker in decades.
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