Tesla submits partial response in U.S. auto safety probe - memo


FILE PHOTO: A row of Tesla Model S sedans are seen outside the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, California April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tesla Inc has submitted a partial response to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) information request issued as part of the agency's formal safety probe into the automaker's Autopilot driver-assistance system.

NHTSA said in an Oct. 22 memo released Monday that Tesla's response "has been received and is being reviewed. The company has requested confidential business information (CBI) treatment for the entirety of the information request."

On Aug. 31, NHTSA sent Tesla an 11-page letter with questions it was required to answer by Oct. 22 as part of its investigation.

Earlier this month, NHTSA asked Tesla why it had not issued a recall to address software updates made to Autopilot to improve the vehicles' ability to detect emergency vehicles.

The agency's probe into 765,000 U.S. vehicles came after a series of crashes involving Tesla models and emergency vehicles.

To date, NHTSA has identified 12 crashes that involved Tesla vehicles using the advanced driver-assistance systems and emergency vehicles. NHTSA said most of the incidents took place after dark.

In a separate letter, NHTSA asked Tesla about its "Autosteer on City Streets” which the company also refers to as "Full Self-Driving” (FSD) released in October 2020, and raised concerns about limits on disclosure by drivers of safety issues.

"Despite Tesla’s characterization of FSD as 'beta,' it is capable of and is being used on public roads," NHTSA said.

Tesla on Sunday rolled back the latest version of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta software, less than a day after its release, after users complained of false collision warnings and other issues.

Tesla must respond by Nov. 1 to NHTSA's most recent information requests.

Tesla did not immediately comment on Monday.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Bernadette Baum)

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