The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Monday initiated a probe into the autopilot system of Tesla's cars, prompted by a series of collisions the auto-pilot had with parked vehicles.
From mid-2016 to date, the NHTSA has investigated 31 different accidents with vehicles using these partially-automated assist functions, 25 of them involving Teslas on autopilot. A total of 10 deaths are related to these accidents.
The NHTSA claims that there are 11 separate crash incidents involving first responders' vehicles that have been identified involving Tesla's vaunted autopilot system. There are some 765,000 Teslas that this problem potentially affects, which is almost every Tesla currently on the road in the US.
"Teslas on Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control have hit vehicles at scenes where first responders have used flashing lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board or cones warning of hazards," according to Click Orlando.
Also at issue are numerous instances of autopilot abuse by Tesla drivers. It appears that in certain cases, individuals are relying too much on the autopilot, even driving drunk, or, apparently in one case, riding in the back seat.
Tesla has not commented on the issue, and, in fact, its media relations department seems to have been disbanded.
Teslas have pressure sensors on the steering wheel to attempt to guarantee drivers are still engaged in operating the vehicle, but many drivers find ways to trick the car into thinking they are still co-drivers even if this is not the case.
This is, naturally, not the first time that Teslas have reportedly had major problems. In 2019, a Tesla in Shanghai famously exploded in a parking lot.
The Biden administration seems to have an icy attitude towards Tesla. Besides the new probe, the company was not invited to a recent "clean vehicle" event at the White House recently.