It looks as though NHTSA is finally waking up with regard to Tesla's claims of autonomy.
It was countless embarrassing social media posts of the car's new "Smart Summon" feature, which is supposed to allow you to summon your car from across parking lots. Instead, as we have documented, it has turned into a total clusterf*ck of driverless Teslas causing traffic jams in parking lots, driving up on curbs and endangering the lives of other drivers.
But we digress - we're glad the NHTSA is finally paying attention, at least. In fact, the agency said it “will not hesitate to act” if it finds evidence of a safety-related defect, according to Bloomberg.
The NHTSA has been mostly hands off when it comes to automated driving systems by opting not to issue new regulations for the technology - which Tesla has taken full advantage of by convincing sycophants who believe that Elon Musk is the second coming of Christ that its cars have super powers, when in fact most of them have trouble navigating their way out of a Burger King parking lot.
Bloomberg notes that "...under NHTSA safety rules, companies don’t need permission from the agency to introduce new systems on vehicles that otherwise comply with federal auto safety standards." This also applies to systems that automate things like emergency braking.
However, NHTSA can exercise its recall authority if it finds an "unreasonable safety risk".
Musk, seemingly unaware of the nation-wide catastrophe he is causing in parking lots, proudly boasted that the feature has already been used more than 550,000 times.
And not helping the cause are the geniuses over at the California DMV, who have somehow decided that Tesla's Summon feature does not meet its definition of autonomous technology - despite the fact that the car is driving around without a driver.
Marty Greenstein, a spokesman for the department said:
“Tesla does not need a permit to deploy the feature in California. As with any new technology, the DMV indicated to Tesla that clear and effective communication to the driver about the technology’s capabilities and intended use is necessary.”
Because Tesla owners have done such a good job obeying the company's rules so far...