NTSB head says Tesla must address 'basic safety issues' with semi-autonomous features

As it develops semi-autonomous technology, Tesla won't be surprised if US regulators are supportive. Jennifer Homendy, the new head of the National Transportation Safety Board, told The Wall Street Journal that Tesla must address "basic safety concerns" before expanding features such as Autopilot or Full Self Driving to other parts. She was also not thrilled by Tesla's beta-testing of upgrades on public streets.
The NTSB leader also took issue with Tesla’s driver assistance naming schemes. Homendy stated that Full Self Driving is misleading and irresponsible, and some may "misuse it and abuse it." The current FSD package, despite its name, only allows limited autonomy in certain situations and requires drivers be available to drive at all times. Tesla hopes to eventually achieve true autonomy that would allow robotaxis and other hands off uses. However, Tesla has not yet demonstrated such a system.

Tesla and Elon Musk, its chief executive, have always maintained that Autopilot (and FSD by extension) is safer than full manual control, despite concerns about crashes in which the technology was involved. FSD betas were used by the automaker to enhance semi-autonomous features in real-world situations, and not only under closed circuit conditions.

Homendy's comments won't necessarily result in policies to ban or limit Tesla's technology. It does set the tone for how the NTSB will approach Tesla during the Biden administration. It is possible that the agency won't be open to Tesla's autonomous driving strategy, especially if there are more collisions.