US Starts Probe of Tesla’s Autopilot After a Series of Crashes
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made its investigation into Tesla’s autopilot crashes public this week.
Since January 2018, the Office of Defects Investigation has identified numerous crashes in which Tesla models of various configurations have encountered first responder scenes and subsequently struck one or more vehicles involved with those scenes, the agency said in its probe.
According to the agency’s investigation, the incidents include 11 crashes and fires, 17 injuries and one fatality. The agency said it would investigate 765,000 vehicles of Tesla Model Y, Model X, Model S and Model 3.
Most incidents took place after dark and the crash scenes encountered included scene control measures such as first responder vehicle lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board, and road cones. The involved subject vehicles were all confirmed to have been engaged in either autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control during the approach to the crashes, the agency added.
The investigation aims to assess the technologies and methods used to monitor, assist, and enforce the driver’s engagement with the dynamic driving task during Autopilot operation.
Tesla shares fell following the announcement and were down 4.3% as of writing.
The investigation is the broadest look yet at autopilot and at potential flaws that could make it and the Teslas that operate on it dangerous, according to The New York Times. Depending on its findings, the safety agency could force Tesla to recall cars and make changes to the system, The New York Times adds. It also has the authority to force automakers to add safety devices and features to their cars, such as when it required rearview cameras and airbags.
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