Tesla’s controversial Autopilot Level 2 autonomous driving system is now under federal investigation with regulators in the United States.
Autopilot has been the subject of plenty of debate since its debut. In Germany Tesla were recently forced to remove all references to Autopilot following allegations that the name constitutes ‘misleading’ conduct. There have also been several incidents where Autopilot has failed to prevent crashes.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Autopilot has been a factor in 11 crashes in the US involving emergency vehicles since 2018, resulting in 17 injuries and one death.
“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,” said the NHTSA.
“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 NHTSA is now poised to review the effectiveness of Autopilot, stating it will “assess the technologies and methods used to monitor, assist, and enforce the driver’s engagement with the dynamic driving task during Autopilot operation.”
These incidents involving emergency vehicles and cones are on top of other incidents where Autopilot has claimed to be a factor.
In June it was reported by Reuters that 10 deaths in the US since 2016 have been linked to advanced driver assistance systems in Teslas. This announcement was made off the back of a separate investigation focusing on 30 specific Tesla accidents.
This newly announced federal investigation on the other hand covers all of the approximate 765,000 Teslas on the road in the US, spread across the Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y between 2014 and 2021.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has not yet commented on the federal investigation.