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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a formal probe into Tesla’s Autopilot partially automated driving system, sharing on its website Friday that it has difficulty recognizing parked emergency vehicles.
The investigation—which covers Tesla Models Y, X, S and 3 from 2014-2021—comes after the agency identified 11 crashes since 2018 where the car’s Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control hit vehicles with flashing lights or other warnings displayed, NBC News reports.
Since June of 2016, the agency has sent teams to 31 car crashes involving partially automated driver assist systems to investigate, claiming that 25 of those crashes were Tesla-related and 10 deaths were reported.
Since, the NHTSA ordered companies to report crashes involving autonomous vehicle or vehicles with partially automated systems in June. Tesla has previously warned drivers that they must be ready to intervene when driving in such modes, NBC News reports, as drivers have crashed into semis, emergency vehicles, and barriers as well. The publication reports that Tesla has disbanded its media relations office.
“We are glad to see NHTSA finally acknowledge our long standing call to investigate Tesla for putting technology on the road that will be foreseeably misused in a way that is leading to crashes, injuries, and deaths,” said Jason Levine, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, according to the Associated Press. “If anything, this probe needs to go far beyond crashes involving first responder vehicles because the danger is to all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians when Autopilot is engaged.”