Tesla insists on fully autonomous driving safety
Tesla insists on fully autonomous driving safety

In a letter to two top Senate Democrats, the company said that Tesla's fully self-driving and autonomous capabilities are safe. She said it's safer than human driving. But the senators were not convinced.

Rohan Patel, Tesla's senior director of public policy, wrote a letter to Senators Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey.

"Tesla's full autonomy and autonomous driving capabilities enhance our customers' ability to drive more safely than the average driver in the United States," he said in the letter.

Tesla is responding to a letter from senators to the company's CEO, Elon Musk, who raised major concerns about autonomous driving and fully autonomous driving last month.

Blumenthal and Markey also called on federal authorities to crack down on Tesla to prevent further abuse of the company's advanced driver assistance features.

Patel describes fully autonomous driving and autonomous driving as Level 2 autonomous driving systems that require constant monitoring and attention to the driver.

He noted that these skills are capable of performing some, but not all, of the dynamic driving tasks that human drivers perform.

In his post, Patel took a more nuanced look at autonomous driving and fully autonomous driving than Musk usually offers via Twitter and other public comments.

Patel insists that Tesla's advanced driving features are safer than human drivers. In the fourth quarter of 2021, our drivers had an accident for every 4.31 million miles they drove using autonomous technology, compared to one crash every 484,000 miles, according to the latest NHTSA data.

Tesla defends itself in front of lawmakers

The company occasionally releases security reports that reflect the same statistics. This is an attempt to make autonomous navigation safer than human driving.

However, experts point out that these statistics are largely meaningless. Autopilot is mainly used for highway driving.

This gives Tesla an unfair advantage in national statistics that cover a variety of driving situations.

Patel also described a driver monitoring system that uses a torque sensor in the steering wheel and cabin camera to monitor the driver's alert.

However, he did not mention that regulators and safety experts have been calling for the company for years to provide its cars with better driver monitoring.

Musk admitted that the autopilot accident was due to complacency. But he previously refused calls from engineers to add more driver monitoring to the company's cars.

"This letter represents a waiver by the company," the senators said in a joint statement. And despite the appalling safety record and fatal accident, the company appears determined to continue business as usual.

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