WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) said on Tuesday it has received requests from the U.S. Department of Justice for documents related to its fully autonomous driving assistance systems and Autopilot as the regulatory scrutiny intensifies.
Reuters reported in October that Tesla was under criminal investigation over allegations that the company’s electric vehicles could drive themselves.
The US Department of Justice launched the undisclosed investigation in 2021 following more than a dozen crashes, some of them fatal, involving Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system, the sources said. .
Chairman and CEO Elon Musk championed the systems as innovations that will both improve road safety and position the company as a technology leader.
Regulators are examining whether the Autopilot’s design and claims about its capabilities give users a false sense of security, leading to complacency while driving with potentially fatal results.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) acting chief Ann Carlson said this month that the agency was “working very quickly” on the Tesla Autopilot investigation it opened in August 2021 and that she called it “very extensive”. In June, NHTSA upgraded its probe of faults in 830,000 Tesla vehicles with Autopilot to technical analysis, a step that was needed before the agency could require a recall.
Autopilot is designed to assist with steering, braking, speed and lane changes. The function currently requires active driver supervision and does not make the vehicle autonomous. Tesla sells the $15,000 Full Self-Driving (FSD) software separately as an add-on that allows its vehicles to change lanes and park autonomously.
Shares of the automaker fell 1.5% in morning trading.
Tesla also forecast capital spending between $7 billion and $9 billion in 2024 and 2025 on Tuesday. The midpoint of that expectation is $1 billion higher than the $6.00 billion to $8.00 billion forecast range for This year.
Part of the spending will go towards a $3.6 billion expansion of its Nevada Gigafactory complex, where Tesla will mass-produce its long-delayed tractor-trailer and build a factory for the 4680 cell that would be able to make enough batteries for 2 million light vehicles. vehicles per year.
Tesla said it recorded a $204 million impairment loss on the bitcoin it holds, while reserving a $64 million gain on converting the token to fiat currency.
Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin took a beating last year as rising interest rates and the collapse of major industry players such as crypto exchange FTX rattled investor confidence.
Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru and David Shepardson; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Bernadette Baum
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