Tesla's autopilot software change faces NHTSA inspection

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently launched an investigation into Tesla's Autopilot driver assistance system. This is in response to a major software update that allows Tesla drivers to take their hands off the wheel for extended periods of time. NHTSA is not yet forcing a recall of the vehicle, but is requesting answers and documents from Tesla regarding the software change. This situation only underscores the complexity of the challenges regulators face in keeping up with the rapid evolution of automotive technology.

Autonomy innovation: the latest update from Tesla

Tesla's NHTSA order contains several key questions that clarify the software update. The agency seeks to determine when the update was performed, the number of vehicles affected, the reasons for the update, and instances of collisions or near-collisions with vehicles equipped with the updated software.

NHTSA is particularly concerned about the potential consequences of releasing Autopilot controls. Allowing drivers to keep their hands off the wheel for extended periods of time increases the risk of driver inattention and lack of supervision of the Autopilot system. This change in dynamics raises concerns about the overall safety of the technology and those using it.

Elon Musk's statement and the legal test

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, is a vocal proponent of autonomous driving technology. He has previously announced a reduction in alerts to ensure driver engagement in the "Full Self-Driving" (FSD) system. Those statements are now facing scrutiny as Tesla prepares to defend itself in an upcoming lawsuit over allegations that the failure of the Autopilot system led to a fatal accident. The trial will likely serve as a litmus test for Musk's claims about the technology's safety.

Competition and monitoring systems: the industry's race for autonomy

In the wider industry context, different car companies are racing to see who will build hands-free driving capability into their vehicles under certain conditions. Traditional manufacturers, including General Motors and Mercedes-Benz, compete directly with Tesla's Autopilot system. What sets them apart, however, is the robustness of their driver-monitoring systems. These systems play a vital role in ensuring that drivers remain alert and ready to take the wheel at a moment's notice.

Beyond autopilot: an NHTSA investigation involving multiple parties

NHTSA's investigation is multifaceted and includes not only the recent software change, but also the operation of the Autopilot system in crashes with stationary emergency vehicles. This broader investigation is examining whether Tesla's driver assistance system effectively ensures driver attention during traffic. As the Autopilot system evolves from basic lane-keeping assistance to more advanced driving tasks, the importance of reliable safety measures cannot be overstated.

Deadline looms: Tesla's response and regulatory impact

Tesla must respond to NHTSA's questions by Aug. 25, as specified in the special order. Failure to comply could result in significant penalties. The outcome of this investigation has the potential to impact the future regulatory environment for autonomous and semi-autonomous driving technologies. As the automotive industry continues to push technological boundaries, finding the right balance between innovation and safety remains an ongoing challenge.


Chart: five-year development of Tesla*

The value of the company did not decline

Despite the relatively difficult situation, Tesla shares have not seen any significant correction. On the contrary, the price has developed positively so far and the market value of the shares remains in the green. In the last two weeks, it has risen by almost 20%*.

Olivia Lacenová, Senior Analyst of Wonderinterest Trading


* Past performance is no guarantee of future results

This text constitutes marketing communication. It is not any form of investment advice or investment research or an offer for any transactions in financial instrument. Its content does not take into consideration individual circumstances of the readers, their experience or financial situation. The past performance is not a guarantee or prediction of future results.

🍪 Cookies

We use cookies to store, access and process personal data to give you the best online experience. By clicking Accept Cookies you consent to storing all cookies and ensure best website performance. You can modify cookie preferences or withdraw consent by clicking Cookie Settings. To find out more about cookies and purposes, read our Cookie Policy and Privacy Notice.

Cookies settings

Cookie Control

What are cookies?

Cookies are small text files that enable us, and our service provides to uniquely identify your browser or device. Cookies normally work by assigning a unique number to your device and are stored on your browser by the websites that you visit as well as third-party service providers for those website. By the term cookies other technologies as SDKs, pixels and local storage are to be considered.

If Enabled

We may recognize you as a customer which enables customized services, content and advertising, services effectiveness and device recognition for enhanced security
We may improve your experience based on your previous session
We can keep track of your preferences and personalize services
We can improve the performance of Website.

If Disabled

We won't be able to remember your previous sessions, that won't allow us to tailor the website according to your preferences
Some features might not be available and user experience reduced without cookies

Strictly necessary means that essential functions of the Website can not be provided without using them. Because these cookies are essential for the properly working and secure of Website features and services, you cannot opt-out of using these technologies. You can still block them within your browser, but it might cause the disfunction of basic website features.

  • Setting privacy preferences
  • Secure log in
  • Secure connection during the usage of services
  • Filling forms

Analytics and performance tracking technologies to analyze how you use the Website.

  • Most viewed pages
  • Interaction with content
  • Error analysis
  • Testing and Measuring various design effectivity

The Website may use third-party advertising and marketing technologies.

  • Promote our services on other platforms and websites
  • Measure the effectiveness of our campaigns

Risk warning: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 81.75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.