Tesla allows some drivers to use its autopilot assistance system for longer trips without keeping their hands on the steering wheel. This option has raised concerns from safety regulators in the United States.
John Gonaldson, the National Agency's chief counsel, released a letter to Tesla posted on the agency's website. The letter said that the company is concerned that now that the existence of this option is known to the public, more drivers may try to activate it.
"The resulting easing of controls designed to ensure that the driver remains engaged in the dynamic driving task may lead to greater driver inattention and a failure by the driver to adequately monitor Autopilot," Gonaldson wrote.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has directed Tesla to report how many vehicles have been granted this option for extended travel. It is seeking additional information about the company's plans for broader distribution.
Tesla, on its part, states that drivers must be ready to intervene at all times, even in a situation of automated driving. The 'Autopilot' mode typically keeps the vehicle in its lane and at a safe distance from preceding vehicles.
Elon Musk, the owner of the company, wrote yesterday (Wednesday) on his social media network, X, "If you haven't tried Tesla's autopilot, you don't know how amazing it is."