NHTSA to Investigate if New Tesla Self-Driving Feature is Causing Accidents

Date: October 8, 2019

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be looking into Smart Summon, a new feature on Tesla vehicles that is potentially responsible for several accidents.

According to Fox News, Smart Summon’s purpose is to give the user the ability to have their cars drive by themselves to their owner’s location. For example, a driver can use the app after leaving a grocery store, where instead of walking back to their car, their Tesla can navigate the parking lot by itself, saving drivers the walking distance. Tesla warns though that the app should only be used if the car is within the user’s line of sight and to be prepared to stop the car if necessary.

“Tesla owners started posting reports and videos of it in action to social media,” Fox News wrote. “While it has worked well for many, much to their delight, there have been several alleged incidents involving off-pavement excursions, close calls and collisions that have raised concerns.”

In response to the reports, a spokesperson for NHTSA told Reuters that the agency will look for evidence that the app is causing the accidents.

"We are in ongoing contact with the company (Tesla) and we continue to gather information. Safety is NHTSA’s top priority and the agency will not hesitate to act if it finds evidence of a safety-related defect,” the spokesperson said.

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