Tesla's Autopilot Concerns on FTC's Radar, Instigated by Mounting Pressure From Congress

Tesla Autopilot System 6 photos
Photo: Jenny Ueberberg on Unsplash
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The race to develop fully autonomous vehicles is intensifying, and industry leaders Tesla might just have a bone to chew with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). During an interview on Tuesday, FTC Chair Lina Khan disclosed Tesla’s Autopilot system is “on our radar,” Reuters reported.
Autonomously driven vehicles are the next step in automotive evolution, and every automaker with enough funds to blow is experimenting with the technology. However, the biggest problem with this fast-rising tech is safety, which is a big concern for authorities all over the world.

Tesla might be at the forefront of the race to fully autonomous vehicles, but their current systems are riddled with controversy. Several regulatory agencies have opened investigations, including the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), that’s looking into 35 crashes, since 2016, involving Tesla EVs. In Malaysia, the automaker received a partial ban from authorities who raised concerns over the safety of the Tesla cars on their roads.

The steadily accumulating number of complaints has gotten to substantial levels attracting the attention of members of the U.S. Congress.

Democratic Senators Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut urged the FTC to investigate the mounting complaints. The politicians said the automaker misled its consumers, endangering their lives by marketing its systems as fully-self driving.

If history serves us right, an FTC investigation could lead to a lawsuit. This move could potentially damage the automaker’s reputation, especially if it is forced to change how it markets its autonomous capabilities to consumers.

During the interview, the FTC chair did not deny or confirm the probe saying that it was true many Congress members had reached out to the agency about the matter. She added that the case was on their radar.

According to the Model Y automaker, their autopilot feature assists drivers enabling cars to steer, accelerate and brake automatically. However, the features “require active driver supervision, and do not make the vehicles autonomous.”
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About the author: Humphrey Bwayo
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Humphrey is a car enthusiast whose love and passion for automobiles extended into collecting, writing, driving, and working on cars. He got his passion for cars from his Dad, who spent thousands of hours working on his old junky 1970 E20 Toyota Corolla. Years later, he would end up doing the same with a series of lemons he’s owned throughout his adult life.
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