Feds investigate Tesla Autopilot fatality

Tesla Autopilot
Tesla Motors stresses that its Autopilot feature is still in beta. (Credit: Tesla Motors)

Tesla Motors says it’s cooperating with federal authorities in the investigation of the first known traffic death involving a driver who was using the Autopilot self-driving feature on the company’s Model S electric car.

In a report posted online today, Tesla said it had just learned that the National Highway Transportation Safety Board was opening a preliminary evaluation into Autopilot’s performance during a fatal crash. In a statement, the NHTSA said the opening of an investigation shouldn’t be construed as a determination that “there is either a presence or absence of a defect in the subject vehicles.”

Tesla’s billionaire CEO, Elon Musk, expressed his condolences to the victim and his family today in a tweet.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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