NHTSA searches for driver assistance data from 12 automakers in Tesla Autopilot probe

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WASHINGTON – U.S. auto safety regulators are requesting substantial amounts of data on advanced driver assistance systems from major automakers to aid their investigation into 12 Tesla crashes involving autopilot and first responder scenes.

The NHTSA Defect Investigation Office sent letters Monday to 12 automakers, including Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Toyota Motor North America and Volkswagen Group of America, to collect information to compare vehicles equipped with level 2 driver assistance systems, where the vehicle has the ability to control steering and braking / acceleration simultaneously under certain conditions.

For each automaker, the agency tracks the number of vehicles equipped with Level 2 systems that were manufactured for sale, lease or operation in the United States as well as the cumulative mileage driven with the systems engaged and a log. of the most recent updates to the systems.

The agency also requests all consumer complaints, field reports, accident reports and lawsuits that may relate to driver assistance systems.

Automotive manufacturers should describe the types of roads and driving conditions on which the systems are intended to be used, as well as the methods and technologies used to prevent use outside the operational design area specified to customers. Additionally, automakers should provide insight into their approach to enforcing driver engagement or attention while operating the systems.

Ford, GM and Stellantis are to meet NHTSA’s request by November 3. Other automakers, including Honda, Nissan and Subaru, must do so by November 17.

Automakers who fail to respond or refuse to act could face civil penalties of up to $ 115 million.

The NHTSA in August opened an investigation into Tesla’s autopilot mode after a series of collisions with first responder vehicles with the driver assistance system activated.

NHTSA’s safety probe covers approximately 765,000 Tesla from the 2014 to 2021 model years. Most of the crashes occurred after dark, with a total of 17 injuries and one fatality.

Drivers using Level 2 systems on their vehicles should remain fully engaged in the task of driving. No automaker today sells an autonomous vehicle to the public.


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