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U.S. seeks Tesla driver-assist documents; company hikes capex forecast

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) On Tuesday, it said it had been requested by the U.S. Department of Justice for documents related to fully autonomous driving and Autopilot driver assistance systems amid intensifying regulatory scrutiny.

Reuters reported in October that Tesla was under criminal investigation over claims that its electric vehicles could drive themselves.

The U.S. Justice Department has launched a previously closed investigation in 2021 after more than a dozen crashes, including fatal ones involving Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assistance system, said people familiar with the matter.

CEO Elon Musk has championed the system as an innovation that improves road safety and positions the company as a technology leader.

Regulators are investigating whether claims about Autopilot’s design and its capabilities could give users a false sense of security, complacency behind the wheel, and potentially deadly consequences.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Acting Commissioner Anne Carlson said earlier this month that the Tesla Autopilot investigation, which began in August 2021, was “very extensive.” NHTSA in June upgraded his defect investigation of 830,000 Tesla vehicles with Autopilot to engineering analysis. This was a necessary step before NHTSA requested a recall.

Autopilot is designed to assist with steering, braking, speed and lane changes. This feature currently requires active driver monitoring and does not automate the vehicle. Tesla sells its $15,000 fully self-driving (FSD) software separately as an add-on that allows vehicles to change lanes and park autonomously.

Shares of the automaker fell 1.5% in morning trading.

Tesla also forecast capital spending of $7 billion to $9 billion in 2024 and 2025 on Tuesday. The midpoint of that projection will be $1 billion higher than he ranges from $6 billion to $8 billion this year.

Reuters Graphics

Part of the spending will go toward the $3.6 billion expansion of the Nevada Gigafactory complex. Tesla mass-produces its long-delayed semi truck and builds a factory for the 4680 cell. vehicle.

Tesla said it recorded a $204 million impairment loss on its bitcoin holdings while posting a $64 million gain from converting tokens into fiat currency.

Last year, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin took a hit as rising interest rates and the collapse of major industry players such as crypto exchange FTX shook investor confidence.

Reported by Akash Sriram and David Shepardson of Bangalore. Edited by Sriraj Kalluvila and Bernadette Baum

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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