Editor's note: This story is part of a special report on advanced driver-assist systems running in the Nov. 15 edition.
WASHINGTON — U.S. auto safety regulators could be laying the groundwork for closer scrutiny of advanced driver-assistance systems after years of forgoing a regulatory route for these Level 2 automated functions, vehicle safety and technology experts say.
NHTSA — amid an ongoing investigation into Tesla's Autopilot system after a series of crashes involving the electric vehicle maker's models and emergency vehicles — has begun piecing together a potentially more active and assertive approach to examining the safety and efficacy of driver-assist technologies offered by Tesla and other major automakers.
The agency has not yet issued specific regulations or performance standards for such systems, but actions by NHTSA in light of the investigation may signal a sea change, the experts told Automotive News.
Since opening the formal safety probe in August, the agency has requested substantial amounts of data on advanced driver-assistance systems from other major automakers to aid their investigation into the 12 Tesla crashes that resulted in 17 injuries and one death.
NHTSA also has requested information from Tesla on its Full Self-Driving beta testing program and asked whether the automaker intends to recall vehicles that received over-the-air updates to Autopilot in September — after the investigation was opened — to better detect flashing emergency-vehicle lights in low-light conditions.