Autonomous vehicles can breathe again as Tesla is cleared by US Gov

The automotive industry has let out a collective sigh of relief as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms Tesla’s self-driving cars are safe.

Eight months ago, Tesla’s autonomous vehicles programme came under fire following the death of a driver who was at the wheel of one of its vehicles, though the NHTSA has cleared the company of fault in the incident. The safety and effectiveness of Tesla’s automatic emergency braking systems (AEB)      had been called into question resulting in the NHTSA’s investigation, though the news will be a welcome relief for the autonomous vehicles segment on the whole.

The incident and the investigation had the potential to set autonomous vehicles back a couple of years, however thumbs up from the NHTSA offers promising potential for future regulation. This is as good as an outcome Tesla could have hoped for, and it does indicate regulators and legislators will be more welcoming to the introduction of fully autonomous vehicles in the near future. Such a technological advancement had the potential to create a barrage of red-tape, but this is an encouraging sign.

The report states no faults were found in the design or implementation of Tesla’s automatic emergency braking systems or its Autopilot cruise features. It has emphasised that car manufacturers need to continue to educate the industry of the limitations of current autonomous features, though there is very little damage to the Tesla brand.

In fact, the report has not only cleared Tesla’s semi-autonomous systems of any fault, but praised the company in making the roads a safer place to drive. The NHTSA has indicated the autopilot features have contributed to a trend which has seen a 40% reduction in Tesla crashes. This is not only a significant PR win for Tesla, but the autonomous vehicles segment on the whole.

Safety is the number one concern for the sceptics, and now autonomous enthusiasts have the backing of an influential government authority. Could there have been a better outcome?

  • 2020 Vision Executive Summit

  • Connected & Autonomous Vehicles

  • Connected Cars & Autonomous Vehicles Europe

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.