US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Tesla autopilot in connection with series of crashes

The interaction between Tesla’s sophisticated driving assistance system Autopilot and drivers, which is the subject of an ongoing federal inquiry, raises concerns, according to US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

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US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg recently spoke about Tesla’s Autopilot advanced driver assistance system and the potential safety risks it may pose. While advanced driver assistance systems can benefit drivers, there are concerns about how they will interact with drivers and if they will lead to a better set of safety outcomes, said Buttigieg. Evidence suggests that drivers in most crashes under review had complied with Tesla’s alert strategy, but the National Transportation Safety Board criticised Tesla’s ‘ineffective monitoring of driver engagement’. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been investigating a series of crashes involving Autopilot and parked emergency vehicles and has opened 40 special crash investigations to assess the technology. NHTSA has ruled out Tesla Autopilot use in three other special crash investigations and has upgraded to an engineering analysis its defect probe into 830,000 Tesla vehicles with Autopilot and involving crashes with parked emergency vehicles. In conclusion, Secretary Buttigieg believes that advanced driver assistance systems have a lot of promise and that Tesla vehicles adequately ensure drivers are paying attention.