US seeks Tesla driver assistance documents; the company increases its investment forecast

WASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) disclosed on Tuesday that the U.S. Justice Department had sought documents related to its self-driving (FSD) and Autopilot assistance systems as the regulatory scrutiny intensifies.

The automaker said in a filing that it “has received requests from the DOJ for documents related to Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD features.”

Reuters reported in October that Tesla was under criminal investigation over allegations that the company’s electric vehicles could drive themselves. Reuters said the US Department of Justice launched the investigation in 2021 following more than a dozen crashes, some of them fatal, involving the autopilot.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

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.

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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 rose 2% in early trading.

The Wall Street Journal reported in October that the Securities and Exchange Commission was conducting a civil investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot statements, citing sources.

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.

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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

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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