The U.S. government opened an investigation into Tesla’s autopilot accidents with emergency vehicles


The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened the sensor Tesla’s Autopilot software, referring to recurring collisions with parked emergency vehicles.

The NHTSA investigation covers the Tesla models Y, X, S and 3 vehicles released in 2014-2021. The federal agency says since 2018, it has registered 11 cases (17 of which were injured and one killed) in which Tesla vehicles using the company’s autopilot features, such as a traffic-aware cruise control, have collided with stationary emergency vehicles. The agency says most of these events occurred when it got dark, and the software ignores scene management measures, including warning lights, torches, cones, and an illuminated arrow board.

The study “assesses, according to NHTSA notes, the techniques and methods used to engage, assist and monitor the driver’s commitment to a dynamic driving task while using Autopilot.”

A spokesman for the agency said the investigation was in its infancy and was primarily about disclosing additional information about the cases. The spokesman said the public should be aware that commercially available cars cannot be driven by themselves, and vehicles always require human control.

The inability of Tesla and other automakers ’driving assistance software to detect parked emergency vehicles is well known. Experts said Wired in 2018 The probable reason is that these systems are programmed to ignore mostly stationary objects, otherwise they may react to any kind of roadside objects from signage to buildings.

WiredThe report states that both Tesla and Volvo driving assistance guides warn drivers of this problem. As Tesla says, “Traffic-aware cruise control does not detect all objects and may not brake or slow down stationary vehicles, especially in situations where you are driving above 80 km / h and the vehicle you are following is moving off the road and a stationary vehicle or object is in front of you. “

NHTSA has stepped up monitoring of Tesla in recent months as the company’s Autopilot software has been at the center of an increasing number of crashes. Many experts in the field have criticized Tesla for marketing this software, which often suggests that human control of the vehicle is voluntary.

In April, senators urged NHTSA take “corrective action” against Tesla and prevent the misuse of its driving assistance software, and in June the Agency issued new rules oblige companies such as Tesla and Alphabet’s Waymon to report all events related to such schemes.

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