February 28, 2024

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The NHTSA chief who led the Tesla Autopilot investigation is stepping down

The NHTSA chief who led the Tesla Autopilot investigation is stepping down

After overseeing the investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system for the past two years, Anne Carlson, acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has announced plans to step down.

Carlson has been the regulator’s chief director since September 2022, and sent an email to staff this week saying she would step down in cooperation with a law that limits how long officials can remain in their positions, according to a report from the regulator. Car News. Carlson will be succeeded by NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman, who will return to her previous position as chief advisor until the end of January before leaving the U.S. auto regulator completely.

Before becoming chief counsel for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in January 2021, Carlson took a leave of absence from her previous position as one of UCLA’s environmental law professors. Throughout her time at the regulatory body, Carlson has also been part of the push for stricter fuel emissions standards for gas vehicles, some of which are scheduled to take effect next year.

Carlson recently noted that new U.S. fuel economy standards approved in 2024 “will save consumers money at the gas station, increase our energy independence, and reduce harmful pollutants, including greenhouse gases that cause climate change.” “.

The announcement of Carlson’s departure comes just after the NHTSA issued a “recall” this week requiring additional safeguards for Autopilot, marking the culmination of the agency’s two-year investigation into the Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) that began in August 2021. Notice, Tesla has fixed The problem is resolved immediately by deploying an over-the-air (OTA) update.

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“One of the things we’ve identified is that drivers don’t always pay attention when this system is running,” Carlson said after the recall was announced.

In response to the recall, Tesla detailed its addition of more stringent driver monitoring for Autopilot, writing: “The remedy will include additional controls and alerts to those already in place in affected vehicles to further encourage the driver to adhere to ongoing driving responsibility when Autosteer is engaged.” Busy, which includes keeping their hands on the wheel and paying attention to the road.

“Depending on the vehicle’s hardware, additional controls will include, among other things, increased visibility of visual alerts on the user interface, simplification of engaging and disengaging Autosteer, additional checks when Autosteer is engaged and while using the feature outside of controlled highways and on approaching traffic controls.” Traffic, and eventual suspension from using Autosteer if a driver repeatedly fails to demonstrate consistent and sustained driving responsibility while the feature is turned on.

During her time at the agency, Carlson also focused on airbag safety and the overall goal of reducing traffic fatalities, along with adding about 50 other safety systems. In the first nine months of 2023, U.S. traffic deaths fell nearly 4.5 percent to 30,435 after the agency saw a significant increase in deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement Wednesday.

“While we are optimistic that we are finally seeing a decline in the record deaths seen during the pandemic, this is no cause for celebration,” Carlson said.

NHTSA has not had a Senate-confirmed administrator for the past six years. While the Biden administration nominated Carlson to continue serving in the administrator’s role earlier this year, the White House later withdrew the recommendation after Republicans opposed the decision. Biden has not yet announced a new selection for this position.

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