(CTN News) – A group of U.S. Tesla auto safety regulators said on Thursday they are seeking updated responses and current data for a probe that has been ongoing for months over 830,000 Tesla cars and Autopilot, advanced driver assistance system.
According to a copy of the letter made public by the NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sent a letter to Tesla on July 3 asking for updates to questions it asked in August 2022, and now it wants answers by July 19 in order to continue its investigation.
A request for a comment from Tesla did not receive a response.
As a result of collecting information on more than a dozen crashes in which Tesla vehicles have collided with stopped emergency vehicles, the agency is investigating the performance of Autopilot.
As part of the investigation, Tesla is also investigating whether Tesla’s driver assistance systems ensure that drivers pay attention to the road when using them.
As a result of Autopilot, cars are able to steer, accelerate, and brake automatically within their lane while enhanced Autopilot enables cars to assist in changing lanes during highway travel.
As part of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Capability feature, the vehicle is able to obey traffic signals and stop signs, but will not be able to drive on its own.
It has been established that evidence has raised doubts about the effectiveness of Tesla’s alert strategy, which aims to compel drivers to pay attention, as stated by the NHTSA.
During the final Autopilot use cycle in 2022, nine out of 11 vehicles involved in prior crashes displayed no signs of driver engagement, or visual or audio alerts, until the last minute prior to a collision.
In the final Autopilot use cycle, four out of 11 vehicles displayed no visual or auditory alerts.
Tesla is specifically requested to provide updates on future changes to driver engagement and attentiveness.
An engineering analysis was performed in June 2022 by the NHTSA, which was a required step prior to a potential recall request.
Previously, the NHTSA sought information regarding cabin camera, which is located above the rearview mirror and able to detect driver inattentiveness and issue audible alerts to remind the driver to remain alert while using Autopilot.
A new letter asks for information regarding the number of vehicles that are equipped with “Tesla Vision” – cameras and not radar – and whether the vehicle has a cabin camera system installed.
In the past two years, the NHTSA has opened 40 special crash investigations in which advanced driver assistance systems such as Autopilot were suspected to have been employed.
A total of 20 deaths have been reported as a result of these investigations.
The Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, stated in May that there are real concerns about the interaction between Autopilot and the driver.