U.S. auto safety regulators are investigating Tesla Inc.’s advanced driver-assistance system known as Autopilot after a series of crashes at emergency scenes.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a document made public Monday that it had identified 11 crashes since early 2018 in which a Tesla vehicle that had been using the company’s driver-assistance system struck one or more vehicles involved in an emergency-response situation.
“Most incidents took place after dark and the crash scenes encountered included scene control measures such as first responder vehicle lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board, and road cones,” the agency said.
Four of the crashes NHTSA is probing happened this year. In one such crash in March, the driver of a Tesla Model Y had Autopilot engaged before plowing into a police vehicle that had stopped along a Lansing, Mich.-area highway to investigate a separate crash, Michigan State Police said. The police vehicle had its emergency lights on, police said.
NHTSA is studying the Autopilot system in some 765,000 Tesla vehicles from the 2014 through 2021 model years. Autopilot is available on vehicles made in late 2014 and later, according to Tesla’s website. Such investigations can but don’t always lead to recalls.