The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a probe into Tesla’s Autopilot software, after repeated collisions with parked emergency vehicles. The investigation will cover Tesla Models Y, X, S, and 3 vehicles released from 2014 through 2021. Since 2018, 11 incidents (which include 17 injuries and one fatality) occurred in which Tesla vehicles using the company’s Autopilot features, like Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, have crashed into stationary emergency vehicles. “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 agency said. The investigation will “assess the technologies and methods used to monitor, assist, and enforce the driver’s engagement with the dynamic driving task during Autopilot operation.”
It was said once again that no commercially available cars are able to drive themselves, and vehicles always require a human in control at all times. Already both Tesla and Volvo’s driving assist manuals warn drivers about this problem. In April, senators urged the NHTSA to take “corrective actions” against Tesla and prevent misuse of its driving-assist software. Autopilot has frequently been misused by Tesla drivers. NHTSA is studying the Autopilot system in some 765,000 Tesla vehicles.