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The National Transportation Safety Board thinks Tesla should pump the brakes on full self-driving

The NTSB chair says Tesla should focus on ‘basic safety issues’ first.

tesla model 3 steering wheel
Image: Unsplash

Jessica Homendy, the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had some strong words for Tesla in an interview in The Wall Street Journal. Essentially she warned Tesla to deal with “basic safety issues” before rolling out their “full self-driving” (FSD) mode to more drivers.

That’s hot on the heels of Tesla CEO Elon Musk saying on Twitter that he was going to put FSD into more cars starting September 10.

That update would still be limited to customers in the early access program, but Musk said that after “another few weeks” for “tuning [and] bug fixes” every Tesla owner who had paid for FSD would see a “public beta button” on their dash to upgrade their software. Tapping that button would upgrade their car’s software to the FSD beta, which had previously been only available to a select percentage of Tesla owners.

Homendy held no disdain back for Tesla’s marketing jargon, calling their characterization of their driving aid package as “full self-driving” as “misleading and irresponsible.” We’ve known that since at least May of this year when Tesla basically admitted the “full” in FSD was really short for “full-of-it.”

The thing is, the NTSB is an advisory board with no regulatory power. It can only issue safety recommendations. That doesn’t mean Tesla is off the hook though, as multiple government agencies with actual regulatory power are also looking at FSD for various issues.

The admission in May led to the California Department of Motor Vehicles opening up an investigation over the company’s over-stated claims about its not-quite-there-yet autonomous driving system. Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also launched a probe into FSD, after a string of Autopilot-involved crashes into parked emergency vehicles.

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