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Tesla to complete Model S brake fix before regaining top safety rating



(Reuters) — Tesla Inc needs to complete fixing its Model S sedan emergency braking system to regain Consumer Reports’ top safety rating, the magazine said on Friday, noting that a recent update by the luxury electric car maker was not enough.

The magazine, which provides an annual rating of vehicles sold in the United States, said on Wednesday the sedan had lost its top ranking in the ultra-luxury car category for failing to install the feature that it had promised to owners as standard equipment.

The Model S fell to third place in Consumer Reports’ ratings behind the Lexus LS made by Toyota Motor Corp and the BMW 7 Series.

Consumer Reports said both Tesla models previously came with standard automatic emergency braking (AEB), a feature that helps reduce accidents. The software issue affects more recent vehicles built since late October 2016.

The magazine said Friday that the Model S sedan it owns had received an automatic emergency braking software update Thursday, but the new version only operates up to 28 miles per hour (45 km).

That is far less than the current 90 mile per hour limit for the prior Tesla AEB system included on vehicles built before late October.

The magazine cited a statement from Tesla that “over the next several weeks” the car maker would increase the speed limit “until it is the most capable of any vehicle in the world.”

The California automaker last week recalled 53,000 Model S and Model X vehicles to fix an unrelated parking brake issue.

Earlier this month, Tesla briefly edged out General Motors Co to become the most valuable U.S. car maker.

(Reporting by Nick Carey; Editing by Richard Chang)

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UK drone rules will require you to take safety tests

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US officials might be easing up on drone regulations, but their UK counterparts are pushing forward. The British government has instituted rules that require you to not only register any robotic aircraft weighing over 250g (0.55lbs), but to take a "safety awareness" test to prove you understand the drone code. Regulators hope that this will lead to fewer drones flying over airports and otherwise causing havoc in British skies. Not that they're taking any chances -- the UK is also planning wider use of geofencing to prevent drones from flying into dangerous airspace.

The new rules come following a study highlighting the dangers of wayward drones. A smaller drone isn't necessarily safer than its larger alternatives, for example -- many of those more compact models have exposed rotors that can do a lot of damage. A drone weighing around 400 g (0.88lbs) can crack the windscreen of a helicopter, while all but the heaviest drones will have trouble cracking the windscreen of an airliner (and then only at speeds you'd expect beyond the airport). While you might not cause as much chaos as some have feared, you could still create a disaster using a compact drone.

It's nothing new to register drones, of course, and it doesn't appear to have dampened enthusiasm in the US. The test adds a wrinkle, though: how willing are you to buy a drone if you know you'll have to take a quiz? The test likely won't slow sales too much, if at all, but it could give people one more reason to pause before buying a drone on impulse. Manufacturers appear to be in favor of the new rulebook, at any rate -- DJI tells the BBC that the UK is striving for a "reasonable" solution that balances safety with a recognition of the advantages that drones can bring to public life.

Source: Gov.uk (1), (2)

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