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US government to probe Tesla Autopilot system on 765,000 cars over emergency vehicle crashes

  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigating after series of accidents
  • Seventeen people have been hurt and one killed in crashes identified by agency
  • Models Y, X, S and 3 from from 2014 onwards are to fall within probe

Time 1 month ago

A formal investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system has been opened by the US government.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on its website it was investigating after a series of accidents between Tesla vehicles and parked emergency vehicles.

According to AP News, the investigation covers 765,000 Teslas – almost the entire number of vehicles the company has produced since 2014.

Of the crashes identified by the NHTSA, 17 people were injured and one was killed.

The agency says it has identified 11 crashes since 2018 in which Teslas on Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control have hit vehicles with flashing lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board or cones warning of hazards.

The investigation covers the Models Y, X, S and 3 from the 2014 through to 2021 model years.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which has also investigated some of the crashes since 2016, has recommended that both the NHTSA and Tesla restrict Autopilot to areas in which it can safely operate.

It’s also recommended that the NHTSA should require Tesla to have better systems to make sure the driver of the vehicle is paying attention.

So far, according to AP News, the NHTSA hasn’t taken any action on the recommendations.

It comes on top of a series of reports that Autopilot has frequently been misused by Tesla drivers.

In April, two men were killed when a Tesla Model S crashed into a tree in Texas.

US magazine Consumer Reports also discovered Autopilot could easily be fooled into continuing without a driver.

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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