Feds Investigate Musk’s Tweet About Fully Self-Driving

One of Elon Musk multiple tweets is now part of an ongoing federal investigation into the safety of Tesla’s automated driver assistance system. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked Tesla for more information about Musk’s Dec. 31 post. reported for the first time It was confirmed by the Associated Press and NHTSA in an email to Gizmodo.

On the aforementioned New Year’s Eve, Musk insinuated that some Tesla drivers don’t need reminders to keep their hands on the wheel, and claimed that the company is working on a software update to reduce such warnings.

A screenshot of the tweets

NHTSA is investigating Tesla’s Autopilot software From 2021. Last summer, a federal watchdog announced a major expansion after this investigation identified at least 16 cases of Tesla vehicles crashing into first responder vehicles. And there’s another federal regulator, the US National Transportation Safety Board Researching Tesla over individual accidents and other incidents over the years.

Still in the middle of a federal investigation, Tesla the widespread beta has begun Full Self-Driving testing in September 2021. Full Self-Driving is meant to be a more advanced version of Autopilot, but as the name suggests, it’s not actually fully self-driving. Both Autopilot and FSD require the human driver to remain alert at all times behind the wheel. company website.

But the majority of drivers using these features reported that they felt “comfortable” with the cars being autonomous and fully self-driving. 2022 survey From the Highway Safety Insurance Institute. Perhaps this attitude partially explains the reason Tesla provided more information In 2022, accidents involving driver assistance compared to any other car manufacturer.

The Ministry of Justice started operating in October last year criminal investigation In addition to federal investigations into Tesla’s autonomous driver-assistance technology and the way the company markets it. And in December, California passed the law It bans the “Fully Self-Driving” label, which will come into effect this year.

In addition to Tesla’s misleading advertising, regulators regularly note that part of the automaker’s safety problems stem from a lack of safety regulations. driver monitoring. Competitors in driver assistance, such as GM and Ford, use camera-based eye tracking to ensure the driver’s attention. report From The Verge. Tesla, instead, relies on steering wheel detection. Cars with FSD and Autopilot enabled give drivers automatic reminders to remember the steering wheel if the car detects that there are no hands after a certain period of time. (Never it’s scary easy to fool the steering wheel detection system.)

Which brings us back to the Tesla CEO’s December tweet. “Users over 10,000 miles on FSD Beta should be given the option to turn off the steering wheel,” tweeted a user of the account @WholeMarsBlog in a post tagging the billionaire. Musk then replied, “Agreed, update coming in January.”

It is not clear what exactly Musk meant by this tweet. After all, the “update” could mean Tesla switching to a Ford-style camera monitoring system, or, as the AP points out, it could mean the time frame for warnings will be adjusted as before.

However, in the context of @WholeMarsBlog’s original tweet and use of the term “nag,” it appears that the steering wheel warning is unnecessary for Tesla drivers who have driven a certain number of miles on their cars. The tweet may even imply that Tesla drivers using FSD don’t need to be monitored or reminded to be careful. Regardless of the exact meaning, the tweet was disturbing enough to get NHTSA’s attention.

An administration spokesperson wrote to Gizmodo that it was “in contact with Tesla to gather additional information” about the tweet. “This issue is coming down NHTSA’s ongoing Autopilot investigationand the agency generally does not comment on open investigations,” the spokesperson said.

Jake Fisher, an automotive testing expert at Consumer Reports, told The Associated Press that turning off Tesla’s already flimsy driver monitoring system could create an additional safety risk for other drivers on the road. “Using the FSD beta, you’re part of a kind of experience,” Fisher said. “The problem is that other road users adjacent to you haven’t signed up to be part of the experience.”

Tesla did not respond to Gizmodo’s questions or request for comment. Company Canceled the PR department 2020.

This isn’t the first time a tweet has landed Musk in hot water with federal regulators. In 2018, he joked, “I’m thinking of taking Tesla private for $420,” and ended up paying a sum. $20 million fine on. Then again in 2019 faced scrutiny According to filings from the Securities and Exchange Commission that appear to contradict Tesla’s legally mandated quarterly report to shareholders. in 2022 The SEC had questions About Musk’s tweets about the acquisition on Twitter. All this to say: the person doesn’t seem to be learning or just can’t shake the urge to post. The social media platform he now owns governs him more than any company board or federal regulator.

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