US investigates Autopilot after 11 Teslas crashed into emergency vehicles

A 2014 Tesla Model S driving on Autopilot rear-ended a Culver City fire truck that was parked in the high-occupancy vehicle lane on Interstate 405.

Enlarge / A 2014 Tesla Model S driving on Autopilot rear-ended a Culver City fire truck that was parked in the high-occupancy vehicle lane on Interstate 405. (credit: Culver City Firefighters Local 1927 / Facebook)

US government regulators are opening an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system after cars using the feature crashed into stopped emergency vehicles.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration announced the investigation today, and it encompasses 765,000 Teslas sold in the US, a significant fraction of all of the company’s sales in the country. The agency says the probe will cover 11 crashes since 2018; the crashes caused 17 injuries and one death. 

The NHTSA is looking at Tesla’s entire lineup, including Models S, X, 3, and Y from model years 2014–2021. It’s investigating both Autopilot and Traffic Aware Cruise Control, a subset of Autopilot that does not steer the vehicle but allows it to match traffic speeds. 

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