Tesla gets subpoena from Justice Department for self-driving cars

The U.S. Justice Department has requested documents from Tesla Inc. related to its Autopilot and “Full Self-Driving” features, in response to a regulatory filing.

“To our knowledge no government agency in any ongoing investigation has concluded that any wrongdoing occurred,” Tesla said within the filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Austin, Texas-based electric vehicle maker cautioned that if the federal government decides to pursue an enforcement motion, it could possibly have a fabric adversarial impact on its business.

A message was left Tuesday searching for comment from the Justice Department.

Tesla is already facing multiple investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for problems with its two driver-assist systems, Autopilot and “Full Self-Driving.”

Despite their names, Tesla still says on its website that the cars can’t drive themselves. Teslas using “Full Self-Driving” can navigate roads in lots of cases, but experts say the system could make mistakes, which even CEO Elon Musk acknowledges. “We’re not saying it’s quite able to don’t have any one behind the wheel,” CEO Musk said in October.

The systems have been under investigation by NHTSA since June of 2016 when a driver using Autopilot was killed after his Tesla went under a tractor-trailer crossing its path in Florida. A separate probe into Teslas that were using Autopilot once they crashed into emergency vehicles began in August 2021. At the very least 14 Teslas which have crashed into emergency vehicles while using the Autopilot system.

Including the Florida crash, NHTSA has sent investigators to 35 Tesla crashes by which automated systems are suspected of getting used. Nineteen people have died in those crashes, including two motorcyclists.

“Full Self-Driving” went on sale late in 2015, and Musk has used the name ever since. It currently costs $15,000 to activate the system. That yr, Musk said the corporate may have full autonomy in about three years.

In 2019 he promised a fleet of autonomous robotaxis by 2020, and he said in early 2022 that the cars could be autonomous that yr.

Since 2021, Tesla has been beta-testing “Full Self-Driving” using owners who haven’t been trained on the system but are actively monitored by the corporate. Tesla said this month that 400,000 owners are participating.

Auto safety advocates and government investigators have long criticized Tesla’s monitoring system as inadequate. Three years ago the National Transportation Safety Board listed poor monitoring as a contributing think about a 2018 fatal Tesla crash in California. The board beneficial a greater system, but said Tesla has not responded.

NHTSA has noted in documents that quite a few Tesla crashes have occurred by which drivers had their hands on the wheel but still weren’t being attentive. The agency has said that Autopilot is getting used in areas where its capabilities are limited and that many drivers aren’t taking motion to avoid crashes despite warnings from the vehicle.

As well as, the National Transportation Safety Board determined in 2020 that Tesla’s system to be certain drivers are being attentive will not be adequate, and it ought to be limited to areas where it might safely operate.

In premarket trading, Tesla shares slipped 1.3%.

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