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Report: Federal safety agency investigating another autopilot crash

Report: Federal safety agency investigating another autopilot crash
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A federal safety agency has opened a second investigation into a crash involving a Tesla Motors car that was equipped with autopilot technology, The New York Times reported.

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A Tesla sport utility vehicle that was operating in autopilot mode rolled over last week on the Pennsylvania Turnpike after hitting barriers on both sides of the highway, according to the NYT.  No one was killed in the crash.

The announcement comes on the heels of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) probing the performance of autopilot after a recent deadly crash in Florida involving a Model S vehicle – the first-ever fatality linked to an autonomous driving system.

Tesla’s autopilot feature is considered a “semi-autonomous” because a driver is still required to be behind the wheel, but the car can change lanes, brake, steer, accelerate, decelerate and avoid obstacles on its own. 

Tesla makes clear to drivers that the new technology is still in a public beta-testing phase, but the accidents have raised questions about whether the technology lulls drivers into a false sense of security. It has also stoked fears surrounding the emergence of self-driving vehicles on the roads at a time when federal regulators and states are beginning to craft policies on autonomous vehicles.

Tesla told the Times it had “no reason to believe that autopilot had anything to do with” the Pennsylvania accident, based on the information it had collected so far.