The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an official investigation into Tesla's "self-driving" Autopilot system. Cars from the company, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, have been involved in several accidents but the investigation is going to focus on 11 specific cases. Those were accidents where cars crashed into first responders' scenes.
“Since January 2018, the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has identified eleven crashes in which Tesla models of various configurations have encountered first responder scenes and subsequently struck one or more vehicles involved with those scenes. The incidents are listed at the end of this summary by date, city, and state,” the NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) wrote in the official documents of the investigation.
“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 involved subject vehicles were all confirmed to have been engaged in either Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control during the approach to the crashes.”
Despite the name Autopilot, the car doesn’t drive itself and the driver still has full responsibility. The tech is an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) that allows the vehicle to keep its lane and speed, and interact with the road environment in a clever way but it can be easily fooled. Just recently it was reported that it can mistake the full moon for an amber traffic light.
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