Tesla doesn’t have a break: the latest stress for Elon Musk

U.S. safety regulators are now investigating more than 30 incidents involving Autopilot.

A recent Model S crash that killed three people sparked another federal investigation into Tesla’s autopilot system, The Wall Street Journal reported. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is conducting an investigation and said it is currently investigating more than 30 incidents involving Tesla’s autopilot.

The crash happened on May 12 in Newport Beach on the Mariners Mile, according to the Orange County Register. It appears the electric vehicle hit a curb and entered construction equipment, killing all three occupants. Also, three construction workers arrived at the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police declined to say whether the Tesla autopilot was involved.

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The problems do not end

Tesla is one of the many carmakers to launch Level 2 driver assistance systems designed to make driving easier. These systems are far from completely autonomous (Level 4 or 5), and Tesla specifically instructs drivers to pay attention to the road and keep their hands on the wheel.

NHTSA said in August last year that it was opening an investigation into Autopilot following 11 accidents involving parked first aid vehicles in 2018, which resulted in 17 injuries and one death.

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NHTSA itself has been criticized by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for not making sure carmakers include the right safety features in their Level 2 autonomous vehicles. NTSB President Jennifer Homendy has called Tesla’s use of the term “Full Self-Driving” for the latest Autopilot system “misleading and irresponsible”, saying “clearly, it has misled many people to use and abuse technology”.

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