DETROIT – More than 750 Tesla owners have complained to US safety regulators that cars running on partially automated driving systems of the automaker, suddenly stopped on the roadway for no apparent reason.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration disclosed the number in a letter with a detailed information request to Tesla, which was posted on the agency’s website on Friday.
The 14-page letter of May 4 asks the automaker for all the consumer and field reports it received about false braking, as well as reports of accidents, injuries, deaths and property claims. He also asked whether the company’s systems were fully operational and the automatic emergency braking system at the time of the incident.
The agency began investigating phantom braking in Tesla’s Models 3 and Y in February last year after receiving 354 complaints. The study covers about 416,000 cars of the 2021 and 2022 model years. In February, the agency said there were no reports of accidents or casualties.
Tesla’s letter gives a deadline of June 20 to respond to the request for information, but says the company may ask for an extension.
On Friday at the beginning of the day a message was left asking to comment from Tesla.
Opening the investigation, the agency said it was considering cars equipped with automated driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control and “Autopilot” that allows them to automatically brake and steer within the lane.
“Complainants report that rapid deceleration can occur without warning, and often repeatedly during a single cycle,” the agency said.
Many owners wrote in their complaints that they were afraid of hitting the highway.
In the letter NHTSA requests the initial speed when the cars started to brake, the final speed and the average deceleration. He also asked if automated systems had detected a target obstacle and if Tesla had a video of the incident with braking.
The agency is now looking for information on warranty claims for phantom braking, including the names of the owners and what repairs have been done. It also looks for information on Tesla sensors, any tests or investigations of braking problems, or if any changes have been made.
The letter focuses on testing Tesla’s automated systems when it comes to detecting metal bridges, S-curves, oncoming and transverse traffic, and a variety of vehicle sizes, including large trucks. The agency also wants information on how cameras cope with reflections, shadows, glare and blockages due to snow or heavy rain.
The agency is asking Tesla to assess in detail the “alleged defect” in the automated systems, including what caused the unnecessary braking, which failed, and the risk to car safety posed by the problem. He asks Tesla, “what warnings, if any, will have the operator and other persons both inside and outside the vehicle, that the alleged defect occurs, or the subject component is defective.”
The investigation is another of a number of agency efforts that include autopilot and “Complete Self-Management” software. Despite their names, none of the functions can drive vehicles without human supervision.
This is the fourth official investigation by the Texas automaker in three years, and NHTSA has been monitoring 23 Tesla recalls since January 2021.
The agency is also investigating complaints that more than 1.7 million new Honda’s automatic emergency braking systems could stop vehicles for no reason.
In addition, NHTSA is conducting more extensive accident investigations involving partially automated driving systems of all automakers. Since 2016, the agency has sent teams to 34 failures in which systems have either been used or suspected of operating. From 34 to 28 Tesla participated.
Fifteen people have died in accidents being investigated by NHTSA, and at least 15 more have been injured. Of their deaths, 14 occurred in crashes involving Tesla, agency documents said.
NHTSA is also investigating why Tesla on autopilot crashed into ambulances parked on the roads.
Tesla and CEO Elon Musk have for many years struggled with U.S. and California government agencies, battling NHTSA and primarily the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Musk offered to buy Twitter for $ 44 billion and make it a private company, but said he postponed the deal because of accusations that the social networking platform has more automated bot accounts than it disclosed.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.