Tesla Cars Won’t Face Recall for Autopilot, Case Closed


U.S. regulators conducting the probe into the Autopilot-related death of an Ohio man in May 2016 will be closing the case today, and will not require a recall of cars.

The move is not only a significant one for Tesla, but for autonomous driving itself. It does not necessarily validate the safety of Tesla’s Autopilot feature, but it does mean that the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found no “defect” in the functionality.

Autopilot was introduced Tesla’s EV line-up in 2015, and it’s constantly faced scrutiny and criticism since then. Many felt it was too early to release such nascent technology into the market, while others felt the company was putting its customers at risk by not educating them on proper use of the system. But since the accident in May and the subsequent revelation in July, Autopilot has been under the microscope of the authorities.

Tesla’s Autopilot isn’t a fully autonomous system yet. At least, Tesla hasn’t yet unleashed its full functionality. Autopilot 8.1 was only released this month to a select list of 1,000 cars, but even they haven’t been given the entire package. Since Tesla parted ways with Mobileye, it has been implementing its own in-house autonomous driving tech in its cars.

The new decision will positively impact the push for truly autonomous driving technology, which already has several major players vying to be the first to release a fully functional self-driving vehicle that can handle any type of road or traffic situation.

In the meantime, Tesla seems to be off the hook.

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