Tesla’s Autopilot would cause cars to brake for no reason on the highway

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is holding Tesla to account. After receiving 758 reports of unexpected brake activation while the vehicle was on Autopilot, the US regulator asked the automaker to provide an explanation by June 20, reports Reuters.

Last February, NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation into 416,000 2021-2022 Tesla Model 3s and Model Ys in the United States after receiving 354 complaints about them over the past nine months. The federal highway safety agency explained that the complainants had reported that “rapid deceleration could occur without warning, randomly and often repeatedly during a single driving cycle”.

The owners say they raised their concerns with Tesla, which refuted their accusations, saying the braking system was normal. The owner of a 2021 Tesla Model Y told NHTSA last October that while driving down a highway at 130 km/h, “the car braked hard and decelerated from 130 to 110 km/h in less than a second”. “The braking was so violent that my head swung forward and I almost lost control of the car,” he said, quoted by Reuters.

In August 2021, the NHTSA had already opened a separate safety investigation targeting Tesla’s Autopilot system concerning 765,000 American vehicles after a series of accidents involving Tesla models and emergency vehicles. A preliminary assessment needed before the regulator can issue a vehicle recall request.

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