For now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) doesn’t think Tesla’s Autopilot is dangerous. If you don’t recall the fatal crash in Florida last year, where Autopilot was being blamed for a Model S slamming into the side of a semi-trailer at highway speeds, that’s what touched off the government investigation.
That’s been called off. NHTSA isn’t saying too much about its findings, but did note that closing the investigation doesn’t mean there aren’t any safety concerns relating to Autopilot. So the question still remains if the technology should continue to be used.
Several other automakers have criticized Tesla for deploying Autopilot, saying it’s a half-baked safety innovation that fills drivers with a false sense of security. Tesla has pretty much ignored the criticism, but Elon Musk says he wants to be providing “full” self-driving tech in about 6 months.
This new revelation was made via Twitter, where Musk loves to drop announcements. Interestingly enough, this might have been made possible through the election of Donald Trump, whose administration if friendlier towards low regulation hurdles for robot cars, compared to the Obama administration.
Don’t think this means you can send your Tesla down the road by itself, because the government might still require a driver to be in the front seat. That, and Musk isn’t talking about Level 5 autonomy. Instead, Autopilot would increase from Level 3 to Level 4, which is still pretty cool, as long as nobody dies.