NHTSA seeks information on autopilot systems as it investigates known crashes between Tesla...

NHTSA seeks information on autopilot systems as it investigates known crashes between Tesla vehicles using autopilot and emergency vehicles.

Photo courtesy Steve Jurvetson via Flickr

The federal government is investigating EV maker Tesla amid autopilot safety concerns.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began probing into crashes with emergency vehicles from the cars when in autopilot mode about a month ago.

The probe covers approximately 765,000 U.S. Tesla vehicles built between 2014 and 2021.

There have been 17 known injuries and one death as a result of 12 crashes, NHTSA mentions in a letter sent to Tesla. The agency is looking for answers from the company by Oct. 22.

As part of its investigation, earlier this week the NHTSA prompted 12 other automakers — BMW, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Stellantis, Subaru, Toyota, and VW — to provide data on comparative driver assistance systems, according to a Reuters report.

Until driver assistance systems become more advanced, many are urging drivers to remain engaged when using autopilot.

Tesla’s website states that “Cars come standard with advanced hardware capable of providing Autopilot features, and full self-driving capabilities—through software updates designed to improve functionality over time. ... This system provides a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously, and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses.” It also notes “Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”

It remains to be seen if the NHTSA investigation will result in a recall or regulatory crackdown.

Tesla’s autopilot system debuted in 2015.

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