Tesla's Autopilot Is Suddenly Under Intense Regulatory Scrutiny, Media Attack

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Apr 20, 2022 - 04:00 PM

The long trial of accidents and deaths that Tesla's Autopilot appears to be leaving behind it, coupled with Elon Musk becoming public enemy number one with the left over the last week due to his bid to purchase Twitter, looks to finally be catching up to the Tesla CEO.

Regulators have, for one reason or another, appeared to take a new keen interest in Tesla's Autopilot system, according to multiple new reports, including one by Automotive News. Regulators are now "applying greater scrutiny to Autopilot than ever before", the report says. 

Autopilot has also been referenced as a "disaster waiting to happen" by Bloomberg. The outlet says that regulatory scrutiny around the feature is intensifying and that a "potential crackdown" could be looming. 

In fact, the NHTSA is now working on two formal defect investigations that may cause Tesla to "have to retrofit cars and restrict use of Autopilot in situations it still can’t safely handle". Recall, Tesla has issued a litany of recalls over the last 6 months. 

Tesla just recalled 127,785 vehicles in China for possible inverter failures in April. It was reported that 34,207 imported and 93,578 China-made vehicles were being recalled. Meanwhile, more than one million Teslas had been recalled in the months prior. 

Now Automotive News questions whether a clampdown on Autopilot could be on its way. The report writes that such a regulatory move "could tarnish Tesla’s reputation with consumers and spook investors whose belief in the company’s self-driving bona fides have helped make Tesla CEO Elon Musk the world’s wealthiest person."

Or, in other words, it could tip people off to the fact that Autopilot's capabilities may have been exaggerated bullsh*t from the get-go. 

Tension continues to bubble up between Washington D.C. and Elon Musk, as we've noted throughout the year. Musk has publicly referred to the NHTSA as the “fun police” and has called out President Biden's lack of praise for the job Tesla has done domestically. The Biden administration, due to Tesla's stance on unions, has been quick to praise competitors Ford and General Motors for their EV advancements. 

Rohan Patel, Tesla’s senior director of public policy and business development, wrote in a March letter to lawmakers: “Making our vehicles safer is foundational to our company culture and how we innovate new technologies.”

Jennifer Homendy, the chair of the NTSB, has said publicly: “We essentially have the Wild West on our roads right now.”

Additionally, Tesla's Full Self-Driving (FSD) package is being attacked as part of a new multi-million-dollar national ad campaign.

Dan O’Dowd, a self-described billionaire and founder of Green Hills Software, a privately owned company that makes operating systems and programming tools, willingly admits his bizarre Senate run is all about attacking Elon Musk and Tesla's self-driving system.

O’Dowd is going to pay $2 million for playtime on this ad in 36 states, and he says that he put aside $7 million for his campaign.

The timing of this regulatory and media spotlight, amid Musk's plans to 'shake the foundations of democracy' - in the words of those on the left - is interesting to say the least.