The federal authorities’s primary auto-safety regulator has opened a preliminary investigation into sudden braking by Tesla vehicles outfitted with a sophisticated driver-assistance system that the corporate calls Autopilot.
The Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration mentioned in a doc posted on-line this week that it was performing in response to 354 shopper complaints from the final 9 months about “phantom braking” — when Teslas brake unexpectedly when no hazards are within the street.
The investigation focuses on Tesla Mannequin 3 compact sedans and Mannequin Y hatchbacks that had been made in 2021 and 2022 and offered in the US. The company mentioned that covers about 416,000 vehicles. The preliminary inquiry is meant to find out the scope and severity of the issue.
The complaints declare that the automobile “unexpectedly applies its brakes whereas driving at freeway speeds,” the protection company wrote in a abstract of the investigation. “Complainants report that the speedy deceleration can happen with out warning, at random, and sometimes repeatedly.”
Tesla didn’t reply to a request for remark.
The investigation is the most recent security concern that Tesla has been confronted with. Individually this 12 months, Tesla recalled 54,000 vehicles outfitted with its Full Self-Driving software program to disable a characteristic that in sure circumstances let the automobiles roll slowly via intersections with out stopping. Failing to cease at a cease signal can improve the chance of a crash, the protection company instructed Tesla in a letter.
The company additionally opened a proper investigation final 12 months into Autopilot and the way it identifies objects and different automobiles on the street. That inquiry was prompted by 11 incidents through which Teslas working in Autopilot didn’t cease for and crashed into police vehicles, fireplace vehicles and different emergency automobiles that had flashing lights turned on.
In the previous couple of months, Tesla recalled 12,000 vehicles to appropriate a braking downside and recalled 458,000 others for 2 separate mechanical defects. It additionally agreed to show off a characteristic that allowed drivers or entrance passengers to play video video games on the dashboard touch-screen whereas automobile had been in movement. The issue had been highlighted in The New York Instances, and the protection company pressed the corporate to handle it.