Tesla in a spot: US safety agency opens probe into 30 accidents involving Tesla

Tesla is back under the scanner in US over road accidents involving its electric cars in the pas t five years. US auto safety regulator NHTSA has opened 30 investigations into Tesla crashes, in which as many as 10 people lost their lives.

File photo of a Tesla Model S car, reportedly on Autopilot, crashed into a stationery police car and ambulance in US. (Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Arizona_DPS)
File photo of a Tesla Model S car, reportedly on Autopilot, crashed into a stationery police car and ambulance in US. (Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Arizona_DPS)

The road safety agency suspects Tesla Autopliot, the EV maker's driver assistance system, behind the crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a list offering details about crashes under review by its Special Crash Investigations programs.

NHTSA has ruled out Tesla's Autopilot in at least three crashes and published reports on two of the crashes out of these 30 road accidents. Tesla has not responded to the developments yet.

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News agency Reuters has access to the list only includes the state and month the crashes occurred after it sought a full list from NHTSA more than a year ago. The US safety agency had earlier said that it had opened special investigations into 28 crashes involving a Tesla car.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Tesla Autopilot remains a key suspect behind some of the fatal crashes involving the electric vehicles since 2016. On April 17, another accident in Texas, that killed two, reignited the Tesla Autopilot debate after police claimed no one was behind the wheel of the Tesla car that crashed.

Tesla recently updated some of its cars where it replaced cameras with radars. The in-car cameras inside Tesla cars have now been updated with a driver monitoring system. Tesla has reportedly confirmed the cabin cameras - located above the rear-view mirror - can monitor a driver, detect inattentiveness when AutoPilot mode is on and consequently issue alerts.

Tesla has previously urged customers to always keep hands on the wheels when engaging their EVs' AutoPilot mode. Tesla CEO Elon Musk maintains that self-drive technology is the future and that such vehicles minimise the risk emerging from human errors.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published Date: 18 Jun 2021, 09:22 AM IST
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