FEMA and Dutch motorcyclists question Tesla’s type approval
First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com
Dutch motorcyclists’ organisations Motorrijders Actie Groep (MAG), the Koninklijke Nederlandse Motorrijders Vereniging (KNMV) and Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations (FEMA) have written to RDW, the Netherlands Vehicle Authority, to express their concerns about the way car manufacturers implement driver assist systems.
According to FEMA, crashes, studies and evasive answers to its questions FEMA indicate that these systems are not properly tested and certainly not with motorcycles.
FEMA says that a report published in April 2016 by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) in which the risks of insufficient tested autonomous systems and over-the-air software updates were discussed. It also stated: “there is an urgent need to put in place certain prerequisites prior to the wider deployment of automated vehicles in Europe”.
FEMA, MAG and KNMV claim that a recent crash in Norway involving a young female motorcyclist, a Tesla using Autopilot and two other cars indicated that motorcyclists have a reason to be worried. They say this was confirmed by tests that were performed by the German organisation BASt, which lead to the conclusion that the Tesla system is potentially dangerous in traffic, and by a recent letter in which the German Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA) requested Tesla to stop using the expression ‘autopilot’, because it is misleading.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has formally issued a draft regulation that demands Tesla cease and desist from using the terms ‘self-driving’, ‘automated’, or ‘autopilot’ when it comes to advertising its vehicles, unless they are capable of driving themselves without any human backup.
The European vehicle type approval for Tesla is issued by the Dutch RDW; FEMA, KNMV and MAG have requested measures to ensure that all two-wheel vehicles can use European roads without being endangered by a malfunctioning Tesla or other vehicle with a poorly tested automatic emergency breaking system.
They have sent questions to RDW about the testing of autonomous vehicles with two-wheelers and have demanded that no vehicles are allowed on European roads that are not properly tested - and tested with all kind of two-wheelers, including motorcycles. A copy of the letter to RDW has also been sent to the Dutch minister of transport and the Dutch parliament.
Dolf Willigers, general secretary of FEMA, commented: “It cannot be that motorcyclists have to fear for their life because car manufacturers skip (part of) the testing phase in an attempt to outrun their competitors, or that our children cannot cycle to school anymore because unreliable car driver assist systems are allowed on public roads for political reasons. We really have to stop this.”