3 crashes raise questions about Tesla's Autopilot

Tesla Autopilot Interior, Photo Date: Undated / Photo: TESLA / (MGN)
By  | 

DETROIT, (AP) - Three crashes involving Teslas last month that killed three people have increased scrutiny of the company’s Autopilot driving system.

On Sunday, a Tesla Model S sedan left a freeway in Gardena, California, at a high speed, ran a red light and struck a Honda Civic, killing two people inside, police said.

On the same day, a Tesla Model 3 hit a parked firetruck on an Indiana freeway, killing a passenger in the Tesla.

On December 7, yet another Model 3 struck a police cruiser on a Connecticut highway, though no one was hurt.

This comes just months before Tesla CEO Elon Musk has planned to put fully self-driving cars on the streets.

Tesla has said repeatedly that its Autopilot system is designed only to assist drivers, who must still pay attention and be ready to intervene at all times, but experts and safety advocates say a string of crashes raises serious questions about whether drivers have become too reliant on Tesla's technology and whether the company does enough to ensure that drivers keep paying attention.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has started investigations into 13 Tesla crashes dating to at least 2016 in which the agency believes Autopilot was operating.

In addition to the deaths on Sunday night, three U.S. fatal crashes since 2016 - two in Florida and one in Silicon Valley - involved vehicles using Autopilot.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved.