U.S. Will Investigate Tesla’s Autopilot System Over Crashes With Emergency Vehicles

The U.S. auto safety regulator said Monday that it had opened a broad investigation of the Autopilot system used in hundreds of thousands of Tesla’s electric cars.

The investigation was prompted by at least 11 accidents in which Teslas using Autopilot, an assisted-driving system that can steer, accelerate and brake on its own, drove into parked fire trucks, police cars and other emergency vehicles, the safety agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, disclosed. Those crashes killed one woman and injured 17 people…

“Driver monitoring has been a big deficiency in Autopilot,” said Raj Rajkumar, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University who focuses on autonomous vehicles. “I think this investigation should have been initiated some time ago, but it’s better late than never.”

Tesla, the world’s most valuable automaker by far, and its charismatic and brash chief executive, Elon Musk, have said Autopilot is not flawed, insisting that it makes cars much safer than others on the road.