A report shows that the highest-ranking transportation authority in the United States has said that Tesla should not use the name “Autopilot” to market its semi-automated driving technology.
In light of the Department of Transportation’s investigation into incidents resulting in at least 14 fatalities, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has expressed worry over Tesla’s marketing of the technology.
Buttigieg was quoted as saying he didn’t believe anything should be labeled an “Autopilot” if the tiny print required constant attention to the road and using both hands.
Reports show that more than 30 accidents involving Teslas believed to have been using Autopilot or its more advanced automated Full Self-Driving system have been investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a government agency within Buttigieg’s department, since 2016. These accidents have involved pedestrians, motorcyclists, semi-trailers, and parked emergency vehicles.
The NHTSA is looking into various incidents in which Teslas driving on Autopilot collided with stationary emergency vehicles that were responding to previous accidents. In the last year, the NHTSA has announced many recalls and investigations against Tesla vehicles due to safety concerns.
While Full Self-Driving can handle most driving responsibilities, Autopilot can keep the vehicle in its lane and safely separated from oncoming traffic. Tesla, however, warns owners in every scenario that they have to be ready to act at any moment.
A report shows that Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden’s transportation secretary, has suggested allocating $20 million of the Department of Transportation’s 2024 fiscal budget to the purchase of female crash dummies.
The administration suggests prioritizing the crash dummies, even though frequent train derailments and infrastructure collapse plague the United States.
Several Democrats in the House have expressed support for Buttigieg’s latest proposal to utilize US public cash on gender-inclusive crash dummies.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) commended Buttigieg at Thursday’s House Appropriations subcommittee meeting. She praised Buttigieg’s initiative to combat “gender inequity” by using female crash dummies.