Auto lobby seeks update to federal car safety standards following Tesla crashes

Auto lobby seeks update to federal car safety standards following Tesla crashes [ad_1]

Two main lobbying teams for the U.S. automotive business are urging updates to federal automobile safety laws within the wake of high-profile crashes involving Tesla automobiles.

During a Senate subcommittee listening to Tuesday, executives with the Alliance for Automotive Innovation and Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association stated the U.S. wants higher standards and protocols to handle automated driving techniques like these bought by Tesla below the model names Autopilot and Full Self-Driving.

Tesla has drawn criticism for its design, testing and marketing of those techniques, together with failure to stop drivers from abusing or over-estimating the capabilities of Autopilot and FSD.

Questions are swirling about whether or not Autopilot or FSD have been to blame in any means in recent Tesla crashes the National Transportation Safety Board and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at the moment are investigating. The NHTSA has opened round 28 investigations into Tesla automobile crashes to date, and about 24 of those are energetic. NTSB has opened 8 such investigations.

Automated driving techniques or driver-assist techniques can management of a few of a automobile’s features. But automakers nonetheless require drivers to stay attentive and engaged in driving even when the techniques are in use.

Generally, driver help depends on a mixture of cameras and sensors. Some car makers use superior mapping together with sensors to restrict use of their techniques to sure roads.

No exact federal laws or efficiency standards govern automated driving techniques within the U.S. regardless of their industrial availability.

“The U.S. is in danger of losing our competitive edge due to a lack of clear national policies,” Ann Wilson, senior vp of presidency affairs on the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, stated throughout Tuesday’s listening to. She later added, “NHTSA can do more and should do more.”

John Bozzella, CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, stated a “more strategic and more robust approach” to the federal government’s New Car Assessment Program is required. He additionally stated a modernization of the federal government’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) that specify design, development, efficiency, and sturdiness necessities for automobiles additionally ought to be analyzed relating to highly-automated and autonomous automobiles.

“We do need a national strategy, a framework that gets up to a new type of regulation,” he stated.

The feedback got here Tuesday afternoon throughout a Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Maritime, Freight, and Ports listening to relating to how automotive innovation will affect the way forward for automobile safety, mobility, and expertise in a world financial system.

It got here a day after three Democratic U.S. senators on Monday introduced legislation mandating efficiency standards for driver-monitoring techniques and requiring set up of these techniques in new automobiles.

Tesla is just not part of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation or Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association. The firm didn’t reply for remark.

A steering wheel gentle bar and cluster icons signifies the standing of Super Cruise™ and can immediate the motive force to return their consideration to the street forward if the system detects driver consideration has turned away from the street too lengthy. 

Source: General Motors

Driver-monitoring

Prior to the listening to, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents auto suppliers and producers producing almost 99% of recent automobiles and light-weight vehicles bought within the U.S., launched a number of safety rules associated to driver monitoring in automobiles with driver-assist techniques akin to Tesla’s Autopilot.

The tips, amongst different issues, push for automakers to undertake camera-based driver monitoring techniques for automobiles which have automated driving or driver-assist techniques. These are designed to sense whether or not drivers are staying attentive and prepared to drive manually in conditions the place the automated program will not suffice.

General Motors, Subaru and BMW have camera-based driver monitoring techniques already, and others akin to Ford Motor have introduced related plans. Tesla automobiles have cabin cameras, however in accordance to the corporate’s homeowners manuals, these will not be used for driver monitoring. Tesla’s techniques require drivers to “check in” by touching the steering wheel.

“This issue that we’re discussing now — and I agree with you – is one of consumer awareness and consumer confidence. This is why we outlined these driver monitoring principles today,” Bozzella stated through the listening to with out mentioning any firm or particular system. “Driver-monitoring is an important element of this.”

Tesla investigations

Consumer Reports last week found a 2020 Tesla Model Y might “easily get the car to drive even with no one in the driver’s seat.”

The take a look at concerned rigging the Tesla’s steering wheel to skirt the automobile’s safeguards which will have in any other case disabled Autopilot. The take a look at adopted a deadly crash of a 2019 Model S in Spring, Texas in April that elicited two federal investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

After a preliminary investigation there, a Harris County constable named Mark Herman informed tv stations that his investigators have been “certain” that no person was within the driver’s seat of the Tesla on the time of the crash.

Comprehensive investigations haven’t been accomplished, and authorities haven’t stated whether or not Autopilot or Tesla’s premium automated driving system FSD have been in use earlier than or on the time of the collision. Tesla cautions in its homeowners’ guide that Autopilot and FSD require energetic supervision.

The stays of a Tesla automobile are seen after it crashed in The Woodlands, Texas, April 17, 2021, on this nonetheless picture from video obtained by way of social media. Video taken April 17, 2021.

Scott J. Engle | by way of Reuters

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said earlier this month in a tweet: “Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled & this car did not purchase FSD. Moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have.”

On a first-quarter earnings name Monday, Musk stated journalists ought to be “ashamed” of their reporting on the crash. Tesla’s vp of auto engineering, Lars Moravy, additionally shared extra particulars he stated Tesla had discovered from aiding within the native and federal investigations to date.

Among different issues, Moravy stated that within the Spring, Texas incident, “Autosteer did not and could not engage on the road condition as it was designed.” He added that the car “only accelerated to 30 miles per hour,” earlier than it crashed right into a tree, and {that a} steering wheel deformity indicated to Tesla a “likelihood that someone was in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash.”

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk unveils a brand new all-wheel-drive model of the Model S car in Hawthorne, California October 9, 2014.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

During the Tuesday authorities listening to, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., criticized Tesla and Musk for talking concerning the crash whereas federal investigations are nonetheless underway.

“I was very disappointed that Tesla through its CEO took to Twitter to downplay the involvement of the company’s advanced driver assistance system before both the NTSB and NTHSA have completed their ongoing investigation into the deadly accident,” he stated.

The NTSB informed CNBC by way of e mail, “Our investigation is ongoing and we are focused on the operation of the vehicle and the post crash fire.”

NHTSA, and Spring, Texas police weren’t instantly accessible to remark.

Blumenthal indicated that he agrees with some auto lobbyists that federal safety standards and new laws are wanted.

He stated, “Tesla’s crash highlights that there are many unanswered questions regarding the technology that purports to be automated. And sadly, there are no current regulations to provide the public with a lot of comfort that more automation without significantly upgraded consumer protection is the answer.”

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