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Tesla tells U.S. lawmakers Autopilot requires ‘constant monitoring’ -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO A Tesla logo is seen at a Beijing shopping center on January 5, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Tesla Inc (NASDAQ) defended safety benefits of its Advanced Driver Assistance System Autopilot (FSD) but noted that these require constant monitoring and attention from the driver.

Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal & Ed Markey sent a February 8 letter to Tesla Chief Executive Elon Elon Musk, raising concerns about Tesla’s Autopilot & FSD systems. These have been subject to scrutiny by safety regulators.

Rohan Patel from Tesla, the senior director of public policy and business growth, stated that these features will make Tesla customers’ driving safer than any average American driver.

Patel said that both systems require constant attention and monitoring by the driver. Patel said Tesla vehicles can do “some but certainly not all the Dynamic Driving Tasks that can be done by human drivers.”

Tesla claims that Autopilot allows vehicles to automatically steer, brake and accelerate. However, they “require active drivers supervision and don’t make the vehicle self-driving.”

Blumenthal and Markey stated in a statement that they were denying the allegations. Although the company has a poor safety record, and many fatal accidents, it seems that they want to keep doing business as usual.

Tesla didn’t respond to our request for comment.

Patel stated in the letter, “Tesla understands the importance to educate owners about the capabilities of Autopilot & FSD Capability”.

Autopilot allows drivers the freedom to not be glued to the wheel but Patel says that torque-based hands are more helpful in keeping their eyes on the road.

Tesla’s FSD test system was launched over a decade ago. It allows vehicles to navigate cities streets. Tesla’s FSD deployment has been expanded to 65,000 users. This is in spite of criticism that Tesla may be putting its safety at stake by testing the technology on untrained drivers.

Many investigations have been launched against the automaker. In a letter, the senators noted that “the complaints and investigations paint an alarming picture: Tesla frequently releases software without fully considering its consequences and risks. It poses grave dangers to all who use it.”

Tesla, under pressure from regulators in January, agreed to recall 54,000 U.S.-registered vehicles and revise its software to stop vehicles disregarding the stop signs.

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