While there’s been no official recall yet, the NHTSA has confirmed that it is investigating Tesla’s Autopilot feature in relation to over 100 crashes, with 16, in particular, being scrutinized for evidence of defects. The agency found that, on average, Autopilot would only hand control of the vehicle back to the driver less than a second before impact, even though the driver would have been able to see the hazards several seconds before a crash occurred. In four of those crashes, Autopilot didn’t even alert the driver of any hazards before the accident.
Since 2015, there have been a total of 20 deaths worldwide that were attributed to Autopilot, a small figure considering the number of Teslas sold during that period. However, there have been no other known deaths attributed to publicly sold self-driving technology during this time. It’s important to stress that, at the time of writing, no definite defect has been found in Tesla’s self-driving feature, which is why it’s only included here as a (dis)honorable mention. But, the investigation is ongoing, and if the NHTSA investigation does conclude that Autopilot is unsafe, nearly every Tesla made will potentially have to be recalled. Tesla already had to recall almost half a million EVs in 2021, so Musk and his team will be crossing their fingers that the NHTSA investigation gives Autopilot the all-clear.