Oct 4, 2019

Tesla's new self-driving software under scrutiny

Tesla Model 3. Photo: Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

U.S. safety regulators are looking into crashes and near-misses involving Tesla's new Smart Summon parking feature, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: If the software is found to be unsafe, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could order a recall.

Background: The Smart Summon feature is part of a software update Tesla released last week for its vehicles.

  • Using their phones, drivers can call their car from a nearby parking space to pick them up.
  • CEO Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla owners used the Smart Summon feature 550,000 times in the first few days.
  • Some of them posted videos on social media showing near-accidents, with one car hitting a garage and others blocking traffic in crowded parking lots.

What they're saying: In response to media inquiries, NHTSA said it “is aware of reports related to Tesla’s Summon feature. We are in ongoing contact with the company and we continue to gather information. Safety is NHTSA’s top priority and the agency will not hesitate to act if it finds evidence of a safety-related defect.”

My thought bubble: Without any clear regulations on automated vehicles, the NHTSA needs to crack down on beta-testing such features on the public.

Go deeper

Tesla is beta testing its Autopilot software using real customers

The inside of a Tesla. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Tesla is taking a calculated risk by using real customers as beta testers for its still-developing Autopilot software, Bloomberg Businessweek's Zachary Mider writes in this week's cover story.

Why it matters: As new technologies roll out on roads, there is debate over whether it's best to wait for self-driving technology to be perfected, or to put incomplete software on the road where it can save lives as it's improved.

Go deeperArrowOct 10, 2019

Tesla returns to the spotlight as Q3 earnings loom

Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Tesla, struggling to turn the corner to profitability, will report its Q3 earnings after markets close Wednesday.

The big picture: Delivering more cars — and the electric carmaker already announced a record quarter on that front — isn't yet a recipe for financial health, especially as the lower margin Model 3, the best-selling EV in the U.S., is increasingly its dominant product.

Go deeperArrowOct 23, 2019

The future of parking garages

Architectural rendering of The MOD in Los Angeles showing how a parking structure could be redeveloped for workspace, retail and housing with pre-fabricated modules. Photo: Gensler

Parking garages are staples of car-clogged cities — but they are ugly and take up prime urban real estate. So building owners and developers are looking for new uses for that space.

The big picture: As urban transportation begins to shift, the massive concrete parking structures that sit under or beside most downtown buildings are being repurposed into food delivery kitchens, e-commerce distribution centers, flood protection and even urban farming.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019