Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, said this week that regulators were concernedTesla's L2 level of driver assistance, Autopilot, is potentially at risk.
Mr Buttigieg's comments come against the backdrop of an ongoing investigation into Autopilot by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The NHTSA investigation team, established in 2021, is looking at a number of previous crashes involving Tesla Autopilot and investigating possible problems in those crashes.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg
"What people really care about is not just the technology itself, but the interaction between the technology and the driver," Buttigieg says. We need to make sure this technology improves vehicle safety. It's promising in the long run, but we have to make sure it's done responsibly."
NHTSA said the agency is working very quickly to investigate Autopilot and upgraded it to an engineering analysis in June 2022, the final stage of the investigation before a recall is requested or canceled.
Last month, however, Tesla won an important court case related to accidents involving Autopilot. Jurors found that driver distraction, not Autopilot, was to blame for the crash.Jurors in the case said the driver was responsible for the vehicle whether or not ADAS was used.
Regulators, however, disagree. NHTSA said drivers had complied with Tesla's requirements in most of the crashes it reviewed, raising questions about the effectiveness of its system.
The National Transportation Safety Board has previously said that the driver monitoring system in the 2020 Tesla did not work and has criticized NHTSA for inadequate oversight.
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