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Tesla needs to fix Autopilot safety flaws, demands Senator Markey

Enlarge / Tesla says that Autopilot customers ought to at all times preserve each arms on the steering wheel.


On Friday, Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) known as on Tesla to undertake “common sense recommendations” in its Autopilot driver help to “guarantee the safety of its technology.” Specifically, he is asking the automaker to cease implying that the system is able to self-driving and in addition asks Tesla to match a correct driver-monitoring system. The senator started his investigation into the corporate’s driver-assist bundle following a number of studies of drivers circumventing the vehicles’ rudimentary safety controls.

From the senator’s web site:

Autopilot is a flawed system, however I imagine its risks will be overcome… I’ve been proud to work with Tesla on advancing cleaner, extra sustainable transportation applied sciences. But these achievements shouldn’t come on the expense of safety. That’s why I am calling on Tesla to use its assets and experience to higher shield drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and all different customers of the highway. I urge Tesla to undertake my frequent sense suggestions for fixing Autopilot, which embody rebranding and remarketing the system to cut back misuse, in addition to constructing backup driver monitoring instruments that may ensure nobody falls asleep on the wheel. Tesla can and should do extra to assure the safety of its expertise.

This shouldn’t be the primary time that the identify Autopilot has come underneath fireplace. In 2016, the German transport minister advised the corporate “to no longer use the misleading term for the driver-assistance system of the car.” In 2018, two US shopper safety teams requested the Federal Trade Commission to deal with Autopilot’s “misleading and deceptive” branding. In 2019, we found that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advised the corporate to cease making “deceptive statements” when it comes to safety, and the corporate repeatedly made claims in regards to the safety of Autopilot that weren’t supported by truth. (The information confirmed that Autosteer—a part of the Autopilot suite of assists—truly elevated crashes by 59 %.)

A survey carried out in 2019 confirmed that almost 50 % of drivers thought Autopilot was secure to use hands-free. Tesla has repeatedly said that drivers have to preserve their arms on the wheel always, though the corporate’s CEO famously flouted this recommendation in a prolonged interview proven on CBS’ 60 Minutes in 2018. In a December 2019 letter to Sen. Markey, Tesla wrote that it believes “that many of these videos are fake and intended to capture media attention.”

Markey’s second safety request is for Tesla to match its automobiles with an efficient driver-monitoring system (DMS). He’s not alone—in 2019, in response to one more video of somebody asleep within the driver’s seat of a shifting Tesla, my colleague Tim Lee laid out a case for why a steering wheel torque sensor is insufficient in contrast to a correct DMS like the type utilized by Cadillac or Subaru, which use eye-tracking cameras to guarantee the motive force has their consideration on the highway forward.

This shouldn’t be the primary time that Markey has turned his consideration to new automotive expertise. In 2015, his workplace launched a report on the dearth of safety measures to stop linked vehicles from being hacked.

Tesla didn’t reply when contacted by Ars for its touch upon Sen. Markey’s requests.

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About Alfred Jackson

Alfred R. Jackson writes for Technology section in AmericaRichest.

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