investigating Tesla over software updates
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[July 09, 2016]
By Michael Nienaber and Rene Wagner
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's Transport
Ministry denied a media report on Friday that it was investigating Tesla
Motors Inc for updating driving assistance software without informing
authorities, but said it was "clarifying technical issues" on the
German magazine Der Spiegel reported, without citing a source, that
there were indications Tesla uploaded new software features to a
driving assistance system which had not been examined for security
during regular approval proceedings.
The ministry therefore launched an investigation, it added.
"The report is incorrect," a ministry spokesman said. "There are no
investigation proceedings against Tesla.
"We are clarifying the technical issues," the ministry spokesman
added. "At the moment, it is a normal gathering of information on
the status quo between the Federal Office for Motor Vehicles (KBA)
and the ministry."
A spokesperson for Tesla in Germany said it is cooperating with the
KBA car watchdog, an agency that reports to the Transport Ministry
"We are fully aware that the KBA is investigating Tesla Autopilot
components and we are cooperative in every aspect," the spokesperson
A Tesla spokeswoman later said that by "investigating", they meant
that German authorities were reviewing certain components.
"Tesla Motors has been transparently working with European
authorities since its inception beginning with the Roadster model
and continuing that working relationship to include Whole Vehicle
Type Approval of Model S, Model X and in the future, Model 3," the
company said in the initial statement.
The spokesperson added that all Tesla type approvals have been
historically issued by the RDW assembly and PDI facility in Tilburg,
"Tesla does its due diligence in making sure that its vehicles do
not violate any national legal (or) safety regulations, it does not
need to seek specific national type approvals in EU member states
since the RDW issued WVTA should be accepted as a legal compliance
document," it added.
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A Tesla logo adorns a 'Model S' car in the dealership in Berlin,
Germany, November 18, 2015. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
In its report, released on Friday before the magazine's publication on Saturday,
Der Spiegel said the driving assistance system in question was a device designed
for regulating car overtaking maneuvers.
If the allegations were confirmed, Tesla could lose type approval for its Model
S vehicles, meaning they would be banned from the roads, the report said.
However, it also added Tesla had applied for type approval in the Netherlands
and therefore only the Dutch authorities could withdraw the approval for the
European market again.
A KBA spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said last year he viewed Germany as the next
most important market for his company after the United States. In 2015, Tesla
sold 1,582 Model S cars in Germany, Europe's largest car market.
In the Unites States, authorities are investigating the circumstances of a fatal
crash in which a Tesla Model S sedan was involved while running on autopilot.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
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