Tesla car in parking lot in city

Tesla's Auto Pilot Vehicle Under Federal Scrutiny After Crashes

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is undertaking an investigation into Tesla's self-driven vehicles after a rash of crashes with injuries were reported.  The federal agency will be scrutinizing the safety of the auto pilot vehicles.

The probe follows 11 crashes with parked first responder vehicles since 2018, which resulted 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,” the NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) wrote in a document detailing the investigation. “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.”

Autopilot in Models Y, X, S and 3 from model years 2014 to 2021. That covers around 765,000 Tesla electric vehicles, as Bloomberg notes. The incidents in question took place between January 2018 and July of this year, including in Massachusetts, Michigan and Arizona. The ODI also cited three crashes in California.

This is not the first NHTSA investigation into such vehicles. The agency investigated and cleared the vehicle after a fatal crash in 2016.  Since that time, NHTSA has investigated dozens of crashes involving these vehicles.  In June, the NHTSA ordered automakers to report incidents involving semi- and fully autonomous driving systems within 24 hours of learning about them.

Vehicles with auto pilot capabilities are still in their infancy and more research is required to test and verify their safety before they receive any mass market appeal.