Tesla Model S much safer after Autopilot crash, no recall required

Tesla Motors Autopilot System Not Defected Says US Regulator
Consumer Discretionary Tesla Motors Autopilot System Not Defected Says US Regulator
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21 January, 2017

Tesla will not be forced to recall cars featuring the controversial Autopilot software after United States regulators made a decision to close a six-month investigation. The report noted that Tesla's Automatic Emergency Braking technology is "not created to reliably perform in all crash modes, including crossing path collisions".

Last year, Joshua Brown was killed in a fatal accident when his 2015 Tesla Model S struck with a tractor-trailer in Williston, Florida. NHTSA did not find a safety defect in Tesla's Autopilot and is not issuing a recall. Tesla says that drivers must be prepared to take control at any time, and should recognize that Autopilot is merely an "assist feature".

The report also highlighted the safety benefits of Tesla's Autosteer feature, stating that data obtained through the investigation showed "Tesla vehicles crash rate dropped by nearly 40 percent after Autosteer installation".

Federal regulators on Thursday closed an investigation into whether Tesla's Autopilot, the auto maker's suite of advanced driver assistance systems, was to blame in a May fatal crash in Florida.

Although that ability is exciting and helpful, Tesla and other automakers must still file recall notices with NHTSA whenever they plan wireless updates that involve a safety issue, Thomas said. "Tesla's design included a hands-on the steering wheel system for monitoring driver engagement". The company was asked to outline the specific types of collision scenarios its automatic emergency braking (AEB) tech is created to avoid, along with any known limitations.

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However, it also said: "The closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that no safety-related defect exists".

The NHTSA failed to fault Tesla because the Model S' Autopilot system operated as it was created to, and did not malfunction. This isn't looking at the number of deaths per miles driven with Autopilot - that number is still around one in 250 million - but rather, how many total accidents vehicles equipped with Autosteer were involved with.

NHTSA said in the report that drivers could be confused about whether the system or the driver is in control of the vehicle at certain times.

Earlier today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a detailed report absolving Tesla of fault in a May 2016 crash.

In October, CEO Elon Musk said all new Tesla models will come with an $8,000 hardware package to enable them to be fully self-driving. The vehicle company just had a major thorn pulled from its side with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration clearing the semi-driverless technology with any defects. "The very name "Autopilot" creates the impression that a Tesla can drive itself".


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