Vehicles | November 13, 2021 6:49 pm

Government Begins Investigation of Tesla Full Self-Driving Beta Crash

This could have significant consequences

A sign lights up at a dealership of electric car manufacturer Tesla.
Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began an investigation of Tesla’s Autopilot program. Why? Well, it seemed as though a significant numbers of Teslas running Autopilot had a tendency to crash into the vehicles of first responders — which is not a great situation for anyone involved. Now, the NHTSA is investigating another one of Tesla’s features — though in this case, the scope of the investigation is limited to one crash.

As Reuters reports, the crash under investigation involves a Model Y that went into the wrong lane while making a left turn — and was subsequently struck by another car. The car was in Full Self-Driving Beta mode, and according to the report, the driver attempted to take over control of the Model Y. At that point, the account of the crash continues, “the car by itself took control and forced itself into the incorrect lane.”

The NHTSA is working with Tesla to get additional information on the incident.

As J. Fingas notes in a report at Engadget, this is the latest in a series of NHTSA investigations related to assorted Tesla systems — and one which may alarm drivers who’d rather not share the road with a car testing out a self-driving mode. Tesla has stressed that only drivers with high safety scores can make use of the beta program — though the automotive behavior described in the NHTSA report sounds like it goes above and beyond what even the safest of drivers could anticipate encountering. With a number of people anticipating a self-driving automotive future, this case sounds like one to watch closely.