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Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving’ beta test has caught the attention of federal safety regulators

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Federal regulators are keeping their eye on the rollout of Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” experiment. This week, the automaker began beta testing its latest advanced driver assist software with a select group of customers, and so far, the government is taking a wait-and-see approach.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it would “monitor the new technology closely and will not hesitate to take action to protect the public against unreasonable risks to safety.” The statement also included some footnoting of Tesla’s decision to describe its driver assist feature as “self-driving” (emphasis ours):

As we have stated consistently, no vehicle available for purchase today is capable of driving itself. The most advanced vehicle technologies available for purchase today provide driver assistance and require a fully attentive human driver at all times performing the driving task and monitoring the surrounding environment. Abusing these technologies is, at a minimum, distracted driving. Every State in the Nation holds the driver responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle.”

Tesla has a checkered history with NHTSA, the federal agency that can issue recalls and investigate automobile crashes. In 2019, NHTSA opened an investigation into complaints about vehicle fires connected to the battery management systems in some Model S and X vehicles. The agency has also investigated multiple fatal crashes involving Autopilot. Earlier this year, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the advanced driver assistance system was one of the probable causes of a fatal 2018 crash, in which a California man was killed after his Model X smashed into a concrete barrier

“Full Self-Driving” is an $8,000 (and soon to be $10,000, according to Elon Musk) option that allows Tesla owners to use the vehicle’s previously highway-only “Navigate on Autopilot” function on city and residential streets. The car will stop at intersections, perform left- and right-hand turns, and lane change automatically, as long as the driver has selected a destination in the navigation.

Tesla warns that drivers need to keep their eyes on the road hands on the wheel at all times — though the automaker famously refuses to include a robust driver-monitoring system (like infrared eye tracking) to ensure its customers are following safety protocols. As such, Full Self-Driving is only considered a Level 2 “partially automated” system by Society for Automotive Engineer standards. NHTSA characterizes it as “Autosteer on city streets,” using the branding for Tesla’s lane-keep assistance feature.

Musk has mischaracterized it as “Level 5” despite no Level 5 system existing anywhere in the world right now.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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