Tesla may intend to make it possible to remotely control the car, using various devices such as cell phones or tablets, as evidenced by the company's comments in the NHTSA new rule.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a final rule to modernize numerous Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and clarify ambiguities in current occupant protection standards for vehicles equipped with automated driving systems that are designed without traditional manual driver controls. NHTSA's findings, among other things, were also based on comments from Tesla, who was trying to clarify whether it was possible to remotely control its cars using portable steering devices inside the vehicle, such as cell phones or tablets.
The rule amends several crashworthiness regulations to clarify safety standards for automated vehicles equipped without manual driver controls.
The NHTSA recognizes that the vast majority of serious accidents are caused by driver error, and is therefore seeking to remove barriers to technology that can make cars autonomous and save lives.
“With more than 90% of serious crashes caused by driver error, it's vital that we remove unnecessary barriers to technology that could help save lives,” Deputy Administrator James Owens said. “We do not want regulations enacted long before the development of automated technologies to present an unintended and unnecessary barrier to innovation and improved vehicle safety.”
Tesla's comments generated a lot of interest, as they indicated that the company is thinking about non-standard methods of driving a car. The company argued that the definition should consider situations where, for example, “the manual controls may be removable, or where they may still be present, but are 'locked' or rendered inoperative when the ADS is in control of the driving task, or where the vehicle may be operated remotely by portable steering controls within the vehicle (eg, by cell phones or tablets).”
For Tesla, a company that is a leader in the development of autonomous driving and plans to launch a fleet of Robotaxi in the near future, it is quite natural to develop alternative methods of driving, so it is very likely that our perception of driving will be completely changed in the near future.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.