U.S. Democratic Senator Ed Markey on Wednesday asked Tesla to disable its Autopilot assisted driving system until it installs new guards to prevent drivers from “autonomous driving” while they are asleep. “Tesla should ban Autopilot until it resolves the issue,” Markey said at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on advanced vehicle technology.
“Car owners can use other objects to touch the steering wheel to bypass the system requirement that the driver should touch the steering wheel regularly,” Markey said, citing YouTube videos and news reports. The driver can travel a long distance without touching the steering wheel. “
Markey, citing local news reports, said a Tesla was driving 14 miles in self-driving cars while the owner was snoring. Other unconfirmed videos on social media also appear to show the owner sleeping while driving itself.
“It’s not safe. “Some people go to Youtube to search for ways to bypass the requirements of the assisted driving system, which could kill them, ” says Mr Markey. “We can’t entrust our lives to a kettle while we’re driving. “
James Owens, the acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), told Mr. Markey at a hearing Wednesday that the agency would be in contact with Tesla on the matter.
Tesla says drivers must keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times, but many owners say they can use the autopilot system to drive and then do other things.
Tesla had no immediate comment, but the company said in September that it had “updated the system since 2018, including adjusting the time interval when it warned owners to hold their hands tight lying to the steering wheel.” “