Tesla faces US probe following crashes linked to assisted driving system

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Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is facing a probe in the US after auto safety regulators opened 30 investigations into crashes involving the suspected use of its assisted driving system.

The incidents have caused ten deaths since 2016, Reuters reported.

READ: Carmakers to follow Tesla example in building battery factories in UK

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a list with details of crashes under review by its Special Crash Investigations.

The NHTSA has ruled out Tesla’s Autopilot in three crashes and published reports on two so far.

Tesla’s self-automated driving system, known as Autopilot, has increasingly come under the spotlight after a number of recent accidents and ahead of the launch of a ‘full driverless’ option.

Tesla previously said that the driver-assist system, called Autopilot, is not an autonomous-driving program, and drivers must be ready to take control of the vehicle at any time.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, said in January that full self-driving software will be hugely profitable for the company and that he was “highly confident” the car will be able to drive itself and that by the end of this year it would be more reliable than people.

It was reported in April that a Model S electric vehicle crashed into a tree and burst into flames in Texas, resulting in the death of two men inside, with local police saying no-one was found to be in the driver’s seat.

Constable Mark Herman of Harris County Precinct 4 told reporters that one of the two people in the car was sitting in the front passenger seat and the other in a back seat.

Elon Musk tweeted that: “Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled” and that the car owner “did not purchase FSD”, the Full Self-Driving computer that the company says is “capable of delivering intelligent performance and control to enable a new level of safety and autonomy”.

He added: “Moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have.”

Shares were flat at US$616.59 in after-hours trading.

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