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Safety official advices Tesla on ‘basic safety issues’ on full self-driving mode

Chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board Jennifer Homendy told the Wall Street Journal that Tesla should address "basic safety issues" before expanding its so-called "full self-driving" (FSD) mode. Tesla has not yet expanded its FSD mode.

CEO Elon Musk stated earlier this month that the company hoped to make the FSD software available to more Tesla customers by the end of September, and that a "public beta button" would be activated by the end of the month. According to the Wall Street Journal, an upgrade to the software—which was originally intended for use on highways—is expected to be implemented in order to make the vehicles suitable for use on city streets.

Homendy had harsh words for Tesla's use of the term "full self-driving," which she described as "misleading and irresponsible." She also stated that Tesla "has clearly misled numerous people to misuse and abuse technology," adding that Tesla "has clearly misled numerous people to misuse and abuse technology." The National Transportation Safety Board can conduct investigations and make recommendations, but it does not have enforcement authority.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles was informed by Tesla's director of Autopilot software in May that Musk overestimated the capabilities of the company's advanced driver assist system, which was a precursor to FSD. The documents were obtained by the legal transparency group PlainSite.

When the National Transportation Safety Board determined that Tesla's Autopilot driver assistance system was one of the possible causes in a fatal 2018 crash, it stated that the driver, who was using Autopilot while also playing a mobile game, had placed too much trust in the system's abilities.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has stated that Tesla ignored its 2017 safety recommendations regarding Autopilot. In a letter to Tesla and five other automakers, NHTSA recommended that they strengthen safeguards for advanced driver assistance systems, making it more difficult for people to abuse them. Also recommended were restrictions on where and when such driver assistance systems could be used by automobile manufacturers. Tesla was the only automaker that did not publicly respond to the NTSB's recommendations, though the company did increase the frequency of alerts that appear when a driver's hands are taken off the steering wheel while driving with Autopilot in place.

It was unclear whether Tesla would respond to an email requesting comment on Sunday; the company has since closed its press office and doesn't typically respond to media inquiries.

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