The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), an American automobile regulator, has launched an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot function based on 12 accidents, in which Tesla’s Autopilot enabled collisions with emergency vehicles.

NHTSA asked Tesla to provide specific information on how Autopilot responds to emergency vehicles, as well as a series of other information.

If Tesla is forced to recall, this investigation may affect approximately 765,000 Tesla vehicles, covering all Tesla models with autonomous driving capabilities.

Why is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigating Tesla?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recorded 12 crashes Their letter to tesla Among them, the Tesla car collided with a parked emergency vehicle.

In every accident, emergency vehicles have “flash lights, flares, illuminated arrow boards or road cones”, according to Ars Technica. According to reports, these crashes caused one death and 17 injuries.

Therefore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a detailed list of data in the letter to Tesla, and they ask Tesla to determine the role of Autopilot in the accident and whether it needs to be recalled. They gave Tesla a deadline of October 22, 2021 to complete the requirements.

Over the years, Tesla has been facing a number of regulatory investigations, with few or no findings reported by regulators.

Elon Musk has a history of making bold claims about Tesla’s autopilot technology. If NHTSA finds that Autopilot is the culprit in these accidents, it is unlikely to help Tesla’s case.

Perhaps the boldest statement is Musk’s claim that Tesla will achieve fully autonomous driving by the end of 2021. A fully self-driving car will reach “Level 5”, which is the highest level (SAE) used by the Society of Automotive Engineers to measure driverless technology.

Level 5 means zero driver involvement is required. According to the interpreter of Kelly’s Blue Book on the five levels of autonomy, there will be “no steering wheel, no pedals, and no gear lever.” In level 5 vehicles.

At present, Tesla’s technology is at Level 2, which is used to help cars keep driving in lanes, stop, and as a kind of adaptive cruise control. The driver’s hands still need to be placed on the steering wheel, and when using a class 2 car, they must look at the road.

U.S. Senator’s comments on Tesla

Two U.S. Senators, Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey, Call on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigates Tesla’s statement regarding its autopilot and fully automatic driving (FSD) capabilities.

The two senators questioned calling their advanced fully autonomous driving functions “fully autonomous driving”. In fact, there are zero fully autonomous vehicles available for sale on the global market, and NHTSA does not fully expect that autonomous vehicles will require at least It will not be available until 2025.

Impact on Tesla stock

Since NHTSA announced the investigation, Tesla’s stock price has fallen by 10%, indicating that the market is taking the matter seriously, but they don’t see this as a major obstacle to Tesla’s tide.

But in the next few days, the stock has fully recovered. After all, those who call for Tesla’s demise in every piece of bad news have already lost a lot of money if they have been exchanging opinions.

But this does not mean that this investigation will not threaten Tesla’s software business, even to a small extent.

Every time Tesla sells a Tesla car (this is an optional additional feature), every time it sells a fully automated driving system, it will get $10,000. Compared with selling the car itself, this is a very high profit margin. The product. Any major obstacle to Tesla’s ability to sell the product will have a huge impact on its earnings and future growth. As we all know, selling cars alone is a very difficult business.

If there is no software to improve profitability, it will hurt Tesla’s growth story.

However, even NHTSA’s mandatory recall of Autopilot seems unlikely to stop the business completely.

One of Tesla’s biggest advantages is that they can send automatic software updates to their cars, just like you update apps on the iPhone.

Memories aside, the two US senators called for an FTC investigation, which may force Tesla and Musk to adopt a more cautious tone when discussing their technology.

Although Tesla’s technology is impressive, it’s no secret that Musk’s reputation and public statements are one of the car’s biggest selling points. After all, there are several cars on the market that also use Level 2 technology, but the attitude towards autonomous driving systems is much more cautious.

Bottom line

Institutional investigations, especially such comprehensive investigations, take quite a long time. NHTSA may not even be able to start their investigation until they obtain all the required data from Tesla in late October.

As headlines continue to emerge in the coming months, some volatility in Tesla stock is expected.

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