NHTSA Concerned Tesla Is “Employing Practices To Impede” It Its Investigation

October 13, 2021   |  
NHTSA Concerned Tesla Is "Employing Practices To Impede" It Its Investigation

As the NHTSA's broad reaching investigation of Tesla's Autopilot continues, it appears the company isn't going to make it easy for the regulator.

The NHTSA said this week that it is "concerned that Tesla may employ practices that could impede the agency’s access to safety-related information, including information relevant to NHTSA’s above-referenced investigation of Tesla vehicles," according to Bloomberg.

Safety investigators have also asked Tesla why the company didn't file recall paperwork after it updated its Autopilot software to better identify parked emergency vehicles. 

The NHTSA said in a letter to Tesla it has to recall vehicles if over the air updates "mitigate a safety defect".

“Any manufacturer issuing an over-the-air update that mitigates a defect that poses an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety is required to timely file an accompanying recall notice to NHTSA,” the agency wrote.

The agency is referring to Tesla's “Emergency Light Detection Update” that had “the stated purpose of detecting flashing emergency vehicle lights in low light conditions and then responding to said detection with driver alerts and changes to the vehicle speed while Autopilot is engaged.”

The regulator has also asked questions about the company's early release of its Full Self Driving beta versions, Bloomberg reported Wednesday morning.

Recall, we reported at the beginning of September that the NHTSA had added a 12th crash into the scope of its investigation. On top of that, the regulator was demanding that Tesla provide an "exhaustive" amount of data about Autopilot before October 22 - which may be the data dump in question. 

Last month, Phil Koopman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon, characterized the regulator's request for data as "really sweeping". 

He continued: "This is an incredibly detailed request for huge amounts of data. But it is exactly the type of information that would be needed to dig in to whether Tesla vehicles are acceptably safe.”

The NHTSA recently said it had opened a formal investigation into the company's Autopilot feature. It said it is opening a probe into Tesla's Model X, S, and 3 for model years 2014-2021. The broad range of models and model years means that this could be the broad investigation that Tesla skeptics have been requesting for years. 

And regarding today's headline: should we really be surprised that the very same company that has laughed in the face of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Presidential administration and employees who have complained about racism is also now laughing in the face of the NHTSA? 

You can read the NHTSA's most recent letter, in full to Tesla, here

Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 11:50