FEMA voices concern over Tesla vehicles

tesla model s dashboard

Published on 19 October 2016 by Robert Drane

Tesla has constantly been in the news since it released ‘Autopilot’ in October 2015 – one of the first automated driving technologies available to consumers.

This summer in Norway, one of these cars hit the motorcycle of a young, female rider from behind. She was severely injured. The Autopilot was in the ON position.

FEMA member the Norwegian Motorcyclists’ Union (NMCU) has written to the founder of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, with one question: “Is the Tesla Autopilot properly tested with motorcycles?”

In the UK, there are actually no regulations for researchers to test automated vehicles with motorcycles, despite the government’s desire to become world-leaders in the technology. Instead, researchers are suggested to follow a code of practice which doesn’t include any specific requirements relating to motorcyclists.

In August, Anna Zee, the BMF’s Political and Technical Services Director, said: “Dolf Willigers, for FEMA, and I are both bringing up the issue of testing at every opportunity. So far, all too often the question ‘Have you tested this with motorcycles?’ results in the answer ‘no’.”

In its letter, the NMCU also said: “We are a bit concerned that manufacturers and politicians are ‘over-selling’ present technology. NMCU sees many ethical, legal and traffic safety qualms when a driver assist system is marketed as an ‘autopilot’ that is actually making the car self-driving”.

On October 17, Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) called for Tesla to drop the Autopilot name for the same reason – that it is “misleading”.

Find out more about the issues faced by driverless vehicles by reading our article: How will driverless cars affect motorcyclists?


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Main image by jurvetson (Steve Jurvetson) - colours altered, cropped and resized - via wikipedia - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/7408464122/in/photostream/, CC BY 2.0, Link