A fatal accident in which the driver of a Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) Model S car operating in Autopilot mode was killed in a collision with a truck has prompted an investigation by federal highway safety regulators, the U.S. government and Tesla disclosed on Thursday.
The investigation of the first known fatality to involve a Model S operating on Autopilot comes as Tesla and other automakers are gearing up to offer systems that allow vehicles to pilot themselves under certain conditions across a wide range of vehicles over the next several years.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is investigating 25,000 Model S sedans that are equipped with the Autopilot system.
e fatal crash of a Tesla electric car using an autopilot feature still in beta testing — and never reviewed by regulators — highlighted what some say is a gaping pothole on the road to self-driving vehicles: the lack of federal rules.
Automakers do not need to get the technology approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration before rolling it out to the public. They just have to attest that their vehicles meet federal safety standards — yet there still are no such standards for autonomous driving features.