Tesla ‘phantom braking’ reports have soared since November. A shift in the cars’ technology may be responsible.

Tesla, which disbanded its public relations department in 2020, did not respond to a request for comment. The automaker has contended in the past that its driver-assistance feature suite, Autopilot, is safer than typical driving when crash data is compared. Autopilot is a system primarily intended for highway use, so the data can not be directly compared with vehicle crashes overall. Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, has called the autopilot “unequivocally safer.”

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