The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is requesting advanced driver assist data from 12 automakers as it seeks to expand its investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot. The government is probing a dozen incidents involving Teslas crashing into emergency vehicles.
According to Automotive News, the agency’s Office of Defects Investigation sent letters to a dozen major automakers, including Ford, General Motors, Toyota, and Volkswagen, requesting information regarding their Level 2 driver assist systems, in which the vehicle can simultaneously control steering, braking, and acceleration under specific circumstances.
Automakers are being asked to provide the number of vehicles with Level 2 systems that have been manufactured in the US, as well as the total number of miles covered with those systems engaged and a recent list of any changes or updates. NHTSA is also requesting customer complaints, field and crash reports, and any lawsuits related to the Level 2 systems.
The data request comes less than two weeks after NHTSA sent an order to Tesla to provide data on the operation of its Autopilot system, including details on which of its sold vehicles are equipped with Autopilot as well as the system’s operating parameters. The agency’s investigation into Tesla could have wide-ranging implications for Tesla, which has pushed the boundaries in releasing experimental software to untrained customers in order to advance its vision of autonomous driving.
NHTSA’s investigation covers an estimated 765,000 Tesla vehicles that were released from 2014 through 2021. The agency is looking into 12 crashes in which Tesla owners using the company’s Autopilot features have crashed into stationary emergency vehicles, resulting in 17 injuries and one fatality. Most of these incidents took place after dark, with the software ignoring scene control measures including warning lights, flares, cones, and an illuminated arrow board.
Tesla has until October 22nd to hand over the data. US-based automakers like Ford, GM, and Stellantis have until November 3rd, and all other car companies, like Toyota, Subaru, Nissan, and Honda, have until November 17th. Automakers that fail to respond could face civil penalties of up to $115 million.