Buttigieg says Tesla Autopilot should be renamed because humans are still in control -Dlight News

Buttigieg says Tesla Autopilot should be renamed because humans are still in control

WASHINGTON — Tesla shouldn’t call its partially automated driving system Autopilot because the car can’t drive itself, a top U.S. transportation official says. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says he is concerned about the marketing of Tesla’s system, which is under investigation by his department in connection with a crash that killed at least 14 people. “I don’t think something should say, for example, Autopilot, when the fine print says you need to keep your hands on the wheel and always keep your eyes on the road,” Buttigieg said in an interview with The Associated Press. press The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an agency within Buttigieg’s division, has sent investigative teams to more than 30 crashes since 2016 in which Teslas are suspected of operating Autopilot or its more sophisticated driving assistance system, called a full self-driving system. , which hit pedestrians, motorcyclists. , semi trailers and parked emergency vehicles. The probes are part of a larger investigation by the NHTSA into multiple instances of Teslas using Autopilot to crash into parked emergency vehicles that are prone to other crashes. NHTSA has become more aggressive in pursuing safety issues with Teslas over the past year, announcing multiple recalls and investigations. Tesla, based in Austin, Texas, did not immediately return messages left Thursday for comment by the AP. Autopilot can keep the car in its lane and away from vehicles in front of it, while full self-driving can perform more driving tasks. But in each case, Tesla tells owners they should always be ready to intervene. Buttigieg said the Department of Transportation would hold Tesla or any other company responsible for complying with federal safety standards. “We call balls and strikes,” he said. “I see it as something where it’s very important to be very objective. But any time a company does something wrong or a vehicle needs to be recalled or the design isn’t safe, we’re going to be there.” In an interview Wednesday, Buttigieg said self-driving vehicles have enormous potential to reduce the nearly 40,000 U.S. roadway deaths each year, a level he called unacceptable. But he said the technology is not yet proven. “It’s far from automatic that it’s going to meet that potential,” he said. “We’re trying to shape that here at the Department of Transportation.” NHTSA is also looking into Tesla’s fully self-driving system. In February, the agency forced Tesla to recall about 363,000 vehicles with the software because the system could violate traffic laws. The problem was supposed to be fixed through an online software update. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he expects fully autonomous vehicles this year, something he has promised for several years. “The trend is very clearly towards fully self-driving,” Musk said in April. And I hesitate to say this, but I think we will do it this year. The system is being tested on public roads by up to 400,000 Tesla owners. But NHTSA said in the documents that the system may perform unsafe actions such as traveling through an intersection directly from a turn-only lane, passing without a yellow traffic light. Failure to exercise due care or respond to speed limit changes. NHTSA has also launched an investigation into Teslas over the past three years for unexplained braking, suspension problems and other issues. Buttigieg would not comment specifically on the pending investigation. “Both outside the marketing side organizations, states and other regulatory bodies, and we always pay attention from a vehicle safety perspective,” he said. None of the vehicles on sale today can drive themselves, he emphasized, adding that drivers should pay attention in all cases. Justice The department has also asked Tesla for documents about fully self-driving and Autopilot.

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