US safety regulators are investigating a crash involving a Tesla Inc. vehicle that slammed into a patrol car in Michigan, the latest in the series of accidents that have raised regulatory inspection of electric-vehicle makers and its driver-assistant functions.
Michigan State Police stated that the driver of the Tesla Model Y has the vehicle’s advanced driver-assistance system, known as Autopilot, engaged when he slammed into a police vehicle on Wednesday on a Lansing, Michigan area highway.
At least three crashes involving Teslas in recent weeks have resulted in probes by the National Highway Traffic safety Administration. The agency is also investigating a crash last week in Detroit and an accident last month north of Houston.
Local law-enforcement officers stated this week that they didn’t believe Autopilot was initiated at the time of the Detroit crash and were still reviewing whether it was active at the time of the Texas accident.
Some safety advocates and other auto experts have criticized Tesla for not doing enough to prevent drivers from relying too heavily on the driver-assistance system or using it in situations for which it isn’t built for.
They have also stated that the term “autopilot” can give drivers a false sense of confidence in the abilities of the system, which helps with the features such as steering and matching a vehicle’s speed to that nearby traffic.
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