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Tesla Tells US Lawmakers that Autopilot and FSD Need to Be ‘Constantly Monitored’


Tesla has offered a purported defense of its advanced driver assistance systems – Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) – acknowledging that they require “constant monitoring and attention of the driver.”

According to a Reuters news report, Democratic senators Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey wrote to Tesla CEO Elon Musk last month, raising significant concerns about the Autopilot and FSD systems, which have been involved in a slew of crashes.

‘Creating Grave Danger on the Roads’

In a March 4 letter to the senators, Tesla’s senior director of public policy and business development said the features “require the constant monitoring and attention of the driver.” He added that Tesla vehicles can perform “some but not all of the Dynamic Driving Tasks” that can be performed by human drivers.

On its website, Tesla says Autopilot enables vehicles to steer, accelerate, and brake automatically, but it requires active driver supervision and by no means makes the vehicle autonomous.

Tesla launched a test or beta version of its FSD system more than a year ago, putting these vehicles on city streets. Tesla has expanded the FSD deployment to 60,000 users sparking criticism that it risks public safety by testing its technology with untrained drivers on public roadways.

Tesla is also facing a number of investigations, including one by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that is looking into several crashes involving Tesla vehicles on Autopilot and emergency vehicles.

The senators have noted that Tesla had made it a habit of releasing software without fully considering the risks and implications, “creating grave dangers for all on the roads.”

A Serious Safety Issue

The senators’ letter hits the nail on the head regarding Tesla’s disregard for public safety. The electric vehicle maker has branded these “driver-assist” features as semi-automated or fully automated, which is outrageously irresponsible. The names are extremely misleading and have caused average drivers to believe they can operate Teslas with these features while under the influence, distracted, or even asleep.

Product defect advocates have maintained that technological progress is necessary and inevitable, but it should be tempered with caution and safeguards. It would appear that Tesla has acted irresponsibly with its misleading branding. We hope the investigations into these issues are speedy because each delay puts us, the public, in more danger.


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California Personal Injury Blog