Tesla News & Update: Driverless Cars & Tesla Model S Accident Repercussions; US Calls For Tech Regulation

By Regin Olimberio , Updated Sep 22, 2016 05:14 AM EDT
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US government pushes for stringent policy in driverless car business including manufacturers to provide the blueprint of this technology. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stressed that details about driverless or autonomous cars is necessary to dissect safety features.

In the US senate, Michigan's Gary Peters observes that driverless car technology is evolving rapidly and state regulations are not as quick to adapt. Peters added that it is imperative for NHTSA to ensure that car builds do not compromise public safety. Safety issue is hyping up right now especially in California where several manufacturers obtain clearances to proceed with road tests.

Meanwhile, US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that the proposed regulatory code should be mandatory, according to Reuters. Another call is for annual updating of the regulations should it get passed, thereby ensuring synchronized efforts against driverless car development. Also, the word "innovation" should be the ethos of NHTSA from now on, Foxx added.

To recall, a Tesla Model S was figured in a fatal crash in May. This incident killed 40-year old Joshua Brown of Ohio and received national attention. Tesla later admitted in a senate investigation that there was a technical failure in the car's braking system. However, Tesla stressed that driverless car technology in general shouldn't get the blame because autopilot did not register any issues, New York Times said.

The investigation revealed that Brown's Tesla Model S driverless car collided with a trailer coming from blind curve and was dragged underneath. Tesla explained that anti-crash and visual radar was not at fault because obstacles could be detected only if there are no obstructions. Since the accident happened in a tight corner, the car has very limited time to "react" or was too late to anticipate the incoming trailer.

With the regulation issue pumping up again in several states, NHTSA reiterates the call for safety assurance. It also compares driverless cars to airplanes where aviation authorities peek through the technology first before issuing necessary clearances.

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