Tesla Facing Expanded Probe From Safety Regulators Over Autopilot Feature

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that it has expanded its investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot feature. The NHTSA has been looking into how the partially automated system reacts to emergency vehicles on the side of the road following multiple crashes.

Last year, Tesla addressed the issue by updating the software to improve the system’s ability to detect emergency vehicles in “low light conditions,” though it did not issue a recall.

While reviewing 11 crashes involving parked emergency vehicles with their lights on, the agency said it uncovered nearly 200 crashes when it expanded its search to those not involving emergency vehicles.

The NHTSA said that those crashes warranted additional investigation. As a result, officials said they will begin an extensive engineering review to determine if the Autopilot system poses a safety risk to drivers. The agency said it is now looking into 16 crashes involving emergency vehicles. The crashes, most of which occurred at night, caused one fatality and 15 injuries.

The engineering review is the final stage before a recall is issued.

The results of the review and any potential recall are not expected for at least a year. If a recall is issued, it could impact over 830,000 Tesla vehicles manufactured since 2014.

Tesla has not commented on the expanded probe.

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