Tesla Motors Inc. will not scrap the autopilot function of its electric cars despite a fatal crash involving its top-selling Model S sedan.
Instead, chief executive Elon Musk is promising to redouble efforts to educate customers on how the system works, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Musk said the company is planning an explanatory blog post that highlights how autopilot works and what drivers are expected to do after they activate it.
“A lot of people don’t understand what it is and how you turn it on,” Musk told WSJ.
Tesla’s co-founder pushed hard to launch the autopilot feature as soon as possible because “we knew we had a system that on balance would save lives”.
While many auto makers offer systems that rely on automatic braking, steering assist or adaptive cruise control to aid drivers, Tesla’s system steers the car more actively than similar systems and the company has marketed it more aggressively.
Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) disclosed a nine-page letter requesting documents and details of additional crashes involving Tesla’s autopilot as part of its ongoing investigation
Regulators are homing in on emergency braking and forward-collision warning functions that allegedly didn’t respond as expected before the May 7 crash.
A spokesman for the auto-safety regulator characterized the July 8 request as a standard step and said “[NHTSA] has not made any determination about the presence or absence of a defect in the subject vehicles”.
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