Tesla is taking orders from auto regulators for “Elon Mode” autopilot.


US highway safety regulators are investigating an apparent hidden feature in Tesla’s Autopilot software that can reportedly disable safety prompts Tesla gives drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. Regulators demand information from the automaker about whether or not consumers are It could attempt to circumvent safety controls in Tesla’s driver assistance technology.

In a letter to Tesla dated July 26 and published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this week, US authorities expressed concern that the recent discovery of the setting — which has since been widely and unofficially dubbed “Elon mode” — could encourage driving. not secure. behavior.

“NHTSA is concerned that this feature has been introduced to consumer vehicles, and now that the existence of this feature is publicly known, more drivers may try to activate it,” wrote NHTSA’s acting chief counsel. John Donaldson in the letter. “The resulting relaxation of controls designed to ensure that the driver remains engaged in the dynamic driving task can result in increased driver inattention and failure of the driver to properly supervise the autopilot.”

was the message First reported by Bloomberg. NHTSA’s request for information comes after a user on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, tweeted: claimed in June to have Access a non-public setting In Tesla’s software, it no longer prompts drivers to periodically apply torque to the steering wheel during Autopilot or full self-driving mode — which the company promises The most advanced driver assistance package – active.

the User X later claimed to have Took a 600-mile test drive with reminders disabled.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. NHTSA declined to comment.

CNN has not been able to independently verify the X account claims or the identity of the account holder. In an email, the user declined to reveal his identity or explain how he discovered Tesla’s settings.

A Tesla Model Y is seen in a Tesla parking lot on May 31, 2023 in Austin, Texas.

The NHTSA letter called for Tesla to provide information including how many of its cars may have the software containing the hidden feature in it, as well as what it takes to access it and why the company installed it on consumer vehicles in the first place. It also requests accident and near miss records for Tesla vehicles that have the hidden setting enabled.

The letter set a deadline of August 25 and warned that failure to comply could result in fines of more than $26,000 per day.

suffix Filing issued by NHTSA It showed that Tesla responded to the agency’s request for information by the deadline, but the company requested and received confidential treatment of its report, which means that information provided by Tesla to NHTSA will not be made public.

The investigation into the apparent hidden feature comes as part of a broader, long-running review by NHTSA of Tesla’s Autopilot software, following multiple incidents allegedly attributed to the technology.

This fall, two lawsuits were filed against Tesla over its Autopilot technology He is expected to be brought to trial. The first, scheduled for September, involves a 2019 accident in California, in which a Tesla Model 3 drove off a highway and crashed into a tree at high speed. The second case, which is expected to go to court in Florida in October, according to Reuters, concerns a highly publicized 2019 accident in which the driver’s Model 3 car drove under a large truck, shearing off the top of the vehicle. .

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