Science

US Highway Traffic Safety wants Tesla to respond to ‘ghost brakes’

The investigation is ongoing, and once the data is collected, the federal agency will analyze it by asking Tesla some embarrassing questions.

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the US federal agency responsible for road safety) continues to add evidence of phantom braking seen on the 2021 and 2022 Tesla Model 3 and Model Y to its dossier. Last month, it said it had received 758 reports from drivers claiming to have suffered “unexpected brake application” and had just changed the investigation’s status from “investigation” to “technical analysis.” The last level is final and, in most cases, NHTSA will decide within a year whether to withdraw or close the investigation.

Phantom braking claims are not new. This expression refers to the intervention of driving assistance systems in response to the detection of something non-existent by the braking system. Of course, this is not exactly what you need when you are driving, for example, on the highway or with someone behind you.

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At this point, the NHTSA asked Tesla to answer a series of questions and provide data for analysis. In case of non-compliance, the Elon Musk brand faces a large fine. Documents released by the agency reveal serious problems with Tesla’s autopilot system, such as the ability to use it in areas where its capabilities are limited, or why, in many cases, drivers do not intervene to avoid accidents despite vehicle warnings.

A total of 16 crashes were reported involving emergency vehicles or work trucks with light signals, resulting in 15 injuries and one death. The investigation currently covers 830,000 vehicles, almost all Tesla models sold in the United States since the 2014 model year. Investigators will analyze other data, vehicle performance, and are “investigating the extent to which Tesla Autopilot and related systems exacerbate risky driving by reducing vehicle control efficiency.” driver supervision.

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