US safety regulators begin special probe into fatal Tesla crash

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San Francisco– An investigation into a deadly Tesla car crash has been launched by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

According to documents viewed by TechCrunch, the investigation, which was opened in July, is the latest in a long string of inquiries by NHTSA’s Special Investigations programme into crashes involving Tesla vehicles. This fatal crash, in which a pedestrian was killed, involved a 2018 Tesla Model 3 in California.

The NHTSA’s special crash investigations (SCI) programme focuses on cases that are useful for examining special crash circumstances or outcomes from an engineering perspective.

The agency currently has 45 open SCI cases involving advanced driver assistance systems or automated driving. Of those, 36 involve Tesla vehicles. Eleven of the Tesla crashes resulted in 15 fatalities.

Tesla’s advanced driver assistance system, known as Autopilot, has increasingly come under scrutiny by the federal agency. Last month, NHTSA “upgraded” its investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot after discovering new incidents of the EVs crashing into parked first-responder vehicles.

The agency said in a notice that it was expanding its preliminary evaluation of Tesla Autopilot systems to an engineering analysis. A recent report said that the NHTSA has linked 392 crashes to self-driving and driver assistance systems in 10 months and about 70 per cent of those were Elon Musk-owned Tesla vehicles.

The report mentioned that out of 392 crashes, 273 were Tesla vehicles using Autopilot or the Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta. (IANS)

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