NHTSA shifts to engineering analysis in probe of Tesla Autopilot crashes into parked emergency vehicles

police lights
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The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has upgraded their probe involving Teslas on Autopilot crashing into parked emergency vehicles.

According to a notice published on the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) website on Thursday, the agency says the probe is expanding into an engineering analysis after becoming aware of additional incidents since launching their preliminary evaluation in August 2021.

Tesla on Autopilot slows down for police car with its lights activated [Video]

That preliminary evaluation initially included 11 Autopilot crashes in parked emergency vehicles since 2018. That number increased to 16 in the following months.

Of those incidents, data showed that in the majority of them Tesla’s Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system activated immediately prior to impact, and in approximately half of the incidents the Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) was also activated.

Additional data showed that for eleven of the collisions drivers took no evasive action between 2-5 seconds prior to impact, and the vehicle reported all had their hands on the steering wheel leading up to the impact.

The Preliminary Evaluation also looked at another 191 similar crashes not involving parked emergency vehicles, which ultimately led to the upgrade to an engineering analysis.

“Although this subset of crashes is not exhaustive, the crash review identified patterns in system performance and associated driver behavior across different sets of circumstances that enable the agency to identify areas of engineering inquiry that warrant an upgrade of this Preliminary Evaluation to an Engineering Analysis (EA).”

According to the NHTSA, the analysis will “evaluate additional data sets, perform vehicle evaluations, and to explore the degree to which Autopilot and associated Tesla systems may exacerbate human factors or behavioral safety risks by undermining the effectiveness of the driver’s supervision.”

The analysis will cover approximately 830,000 Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y cars built between 2014 and 2022. If enough evidence is uncovered, the NHTSA could issue a recall.

You can read the full ODI Resume (EA 22-002) below.

577701592-INOA-EA22002-3184
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Founder and Editor-in-chief of Drive Tesla Canada | Darryn@DriveTeslaCanada.ca Have a Tesla tip? Email tips@driveteslacanada.ca, or DM us on Twitter @DriveTeslaca