Tesla Autopilot NHTSA probe moves forward, will be compared with OEM systems

Credit: teslaphotographer/Instagram

Tesla’s Autopilot probe conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now moving forward as the agency is requesting information from twelve other manufacturers that also have driver assistance systems. The NHTSA sent letters to various automotive companies requesting information on Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) for a comparative analysis, the letters state.

According to the NHTSA’s website, numerous documents associated with the Tesla Autopilot probe were added on September 13th. The documents were letters sent to automakers BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Setllantis, Kia, Volkswagen, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, and Subaru.

Credit: Tesla

The letter described the ongoing investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control systems, indicating that the NHTSA requested information on comparative systems to investigate various actions like steering controls and braking and accelerating.

The letter to BMW states:

“This information request is being sent to BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) to gather information in support of ODI’s comparative analysis amongst production vehicles equipped with the ability to control both steering and braking/accelerating simultaneously under some circumstances.”

The letter is identical to the other eleven OEMs that the NHTSA requested information from.

According to the company’s accident data that it publishes each quarter, Tesla Autopilot is the safest way to operate a vehicle. The most recently posted data shows statistics from Q1 2021 and indicates that Tesla vehicles were driven 4.19 million miles under autopilot before an accident occurred. NHTSA statistics list the national average as 484,000 miles driven between accidents.

In mid-August, the NHTSA launched an investigation into 765,000 affected Tesla vehicles with model years from 2014 to 2021. The investigation was launched due to eleven instances of Tesla vehicles crashing into emergency vehicles since 2018. The vehicles were allegedly operating with Autopilot of Traffic Aware Cruise Control. The NHTSA investigation expanded to twelve incidents when another Tesla accident occurred in Orlando, Florida, shortly after the launch of the investigation. The driver stated the car was on Autopilot, but this has not yet been confirmed.

The NHTSA investigation is expected to take some time, perhaps 18 months, former Ford CEO Mark Fields recently said. However, Tesla’s Autopilot system is on the line depending on the results of the investigation. If the NHTSA finds the system was at fault, it could recall the system and halt the advancement of automated driving assistance features for several years.

Tesla is required to submit information regarding the twelve involved vehicles, such as VIN number, software, hardware, and firmware versions to the NTHSA before October 22nd, 2021.

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Tesla Autopilot NHTSA probe moves forward, will be compared with OEM systems
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