One of Cliff’s first official acts was to release the results of the Standing General Order (SGO) related to crashes involving Level 2 advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and Level 4 autonomous driving systems. Tesla had most of the accidents.
Cliff told AP that Tesla may have presented bigger numbers than its competitors because half of the 830,000 vehicles it has on American roads use ADAS. He also stressed that the company presents nearly instantaneous wireless crash reports, although the data indicate that more serious collisions did not have that data readily available.
Ironically, Cliff said that he believes NHTSA works well with Tesla, something the press and customers, unfortunately, do not share. For the safety regulator to create effective regulation for these systems, it has to understand what makes them helpful and what makes them dangerous.
The NHTSA administrator said he would emphasize automatic emergency braking systems and require them in all vehicles in the U.S. soon. Although Tesla offers this system, it presents what Tesla customers already named “phantom braking,” meaning the EVs brake for no apparent reason. NHTSA is investigating that.
Cliff recognizes that the safety regulator has to be quick, but not so fast that it is more subject to mistakes. More than creating regulations for these systems to really help keep people alive, the NHTSA administrator wants to have objective measurement criteria to evaluate ADAS. That’s all safety specialists concerned with the “move fast and break stuff” philosophy wanted to hear.