NHTSA seeks more info from Tesla in ‘phantom braking’ safety probe

WASHINGTON — The nation’s prime auto safety regulator is requesting extra info from Tesla Inc. to help its investigation of selected Model 3 and Product Y cars geared up with Autopilot just after reports alleging “phantom braking.”

NHTSA’s request arrives following the agency in February opened the investigation into an estimated 416,000 Design 3 and Model Y vehicles from the 2021-22 design many years right after getting 354 issues of surprising braking though making use of Autopilot’s driver-guide characteristics.

In a letter despatched May 4 to Eddie Gates, Tesla’s director of field top quality, NHTSA said the range of experiences of unanticipated brake activation in those people cars had amplified to 758.

The agency is now searching for further more facts from Tesla, including any problems or lawsuits connected to the alleged defect as effectively as experiences involving a crash, damage or demise.

Tesla has right up until June 20 to respond, or it could face civil penalties of up to nearly $115 million.

In accordance to the letter, posted Friday, NHTSA is asking Tesla to explain any assessments, tests, studies, simulations or related steps that have been done by, or for, the automaker as it relates to the alleged defect. The company also would like to know what components and software modifications have been made to the affected automobiles considering that the get started of manufacturing.

Other requests consist of a comprehensive description of the method structure and operation, which includes all involved sensor systems, as properly as Tesla’s assessment of the alleged defect, circumstances that may possibly consequence in unexpected brake activation and associated safety challenges.

Tesla, which disbanded its media relations section, did not promptly answer to a ask for for comment.

The electrical vehicle maker has continued to experience higher regulatory scrutiny beneath the Biden administration.

Past 12 months, NHTSA opened an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot method following a series of crashes involving its styles and emergency vehicles. The ongoing probe covers an estimated 765,000 Teslas from the 2014-21 product a long time. Most of the crashes happened right after dark and in overall resulted in 17 accidents and just one demise.