This is bad.
DOT Worry About It
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is significantly widening its investigation into Tesla Autopilot crashes to include almost every car the company has sold in the United States — and it may ultimately result in a major safety recall.
Since August 2021, the agency has been investigating Tesla crashes involving the driving-assistance software, and is aware of at least 15 injuries and one death that occurred when either Autopilot or Full Self-Driving (FSD), an optional $12,000 package that adds several Autopilot enhancements, was activated.
The agency's latest announcement serves to notify the public that its "preliminary evaluation" into Tesla was being upgraded to an "engineering analysis," and would be broadly probing 830,000 cars — almost every single car the electric carmaker has sold between 2014 and 2021, including the Model S, X, 3, and Y.
The investigation upgrade, as the New York Times notes, is a critical next step in the government's decision whether or not to issue a recall for Teslas — that is, if the agency determines that there is a substantial enough safety issue embedded in Tesla's Autopilot and FSD software to warrant one.
In an interview with the NYT, Jonathan Adkins of the Governors Highway Safety Association said that safety advocates "have been asking for closer scrutiny of [Tesla] Autopilot for some time."
"At a minimum they should be renamed," Adkins continued. "Those names [Autopilot and FSD] confuse people into thinking they can do more than they are actually capable of."
This wouldn't, of course, be the first time Tesla has faced recalls.
At the end of the 2021 and the beginning of 2022, the NHTSA issued multiple notices for Tesla recalls due to various software malfunctions, ranging from trunk issues to ignoring stop signs.
Once again, this latest news about Tesla's much-touted and duly criticized Autopilot and FSD programs begs the question: why the hell is that functionality still available to use on public roads?
READ MORE: Federal safety agency expands its investigation of Tesla’s Autopilot system. [The New York Times]
More on Tesla automation madness: Tesla Reportedly Giving Full Self-Driving Beta to Basically Anybody Now