AutosDutch regulators dismiss service operation for Tesla in Europe despite US autopilot scrutiny

Dutch regulators dismiss service operation for Tesla in Europe despite US autopilot scrutiny

American Teslas were sent en masse to workshops.
American Teslas were sent en masse to workshops.
Images source: © Getty Images | Bloomberg

3:39 PM EST, December 16, 2023

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has kept a close watch on Tesla, particularly its autopilot system installed in vehicles. Analyses have been ongoing since 2016, during which upward of 50 investigations related to accidents involving their cars - often fatal - have been initiated.

As we highlighted on December 14, 2023, the NHTSA proclaimed that "Tesla's mechanisms designed to keep drivers alert are insufficient and may encourage predictable misuses". Consequently, a large-scale service activity was announced, set to affect more than 2 million vehicles sold in the American market.

Understandably, such news quickly made global rounds, leading media to speculate whether this signals the start of a potential flood of service actions in other regions. The spotlight was mainly cast on Europe, where road safety is highly prioritized.

However, should Tesla owners in Europe truly brace themselves for a service visit? It seems not to be the case. At least, that's the stance of the Dutch RDW - the national vehicle registration database.

The RDW is not holding any investigation into Tesla's autopilot operations, nor does it intend to initiate one in the future. Reportedly, the system in question operates slightly differently in European models. This variance owes to differences in legal requirements and the interpretation of level 2 autonomy in the EU versus the USA.

Simply put, the European Tesla's autopilot system is designed to monitor drivers’ attentiveness more effectively and assertively. Hence, it permits less than its counterpart in cars destined for the US market. This specific reason negates the need for a service activity in the EU.

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