Washington, D.C. — Oct. 12, 2016 — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a crash centering around the Tesla Model S and its autopilot feature. Business Insider recently included updates on the effort.
The accident took place May 7, and involved 40-year old Tesla driver Joshua Brown, who reportedly collided with a nearby fence when a trailer truck passed in front of him. The autopilot reportedly failed to recognize the oncoming trailer and therefore didn’t press on the brakes. The incident has not prompted a recall as of yet, but an investigation could theoretically lead to further action.
However, a June blog post from Tesla that appeared in the source stated that the NHTSA’s looking into this issue is “simply a preliminary evaluation to determine whether the system worked according to expectations.” The blog also explained that autopilot can only be used with acknowledgement from the user, and is initially not activated in vehicles.
Aside from this, the Tesla Model S has also appeared in recall news due to seat belt problems. A November 2015 recall saw a specific range of vehicles included because seat belts were not connected to the outboard lap pretensioner correctly. The recall included 58,773 vehicles that were potentially subject to the condition.
The fix for this problem required possible reassembly if the front belts in the vehicle aren’t connected. Affected models included Model S units with model years from between 2012 and 2015, with production rates ranging from May 31, 2012, to Nov. 12, 2015. An improperly bolted seat belt anchor could leave passengers insufficiently restrained during an accident, the Part 573 Safety Recall Report said.