Tesla shares plunge as U.S. regulators starts investigation into its autopilot system

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Elon Musk, Chairman and Chief Executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc.,

Following the beginning of an official inquiry into Tesla’s Autopilot technology by U.S. authorities, the company’s stock has dropped.

On Monday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that it had launched an inquiry into the Autopilot technology, which is used in hundreds of thousands of Tesla electric vehicles.

At least 11 accidents in which Tesla using Autopilot, an assisted-driving system that can steer, accelerate, and brake on its own, collided with parked fire trucks, police cars, and other emergency vehicles prompted the investigation by the safety agency. These collisions resulted in the death of one woman and the injury of 17 others.

Following the NHTSA news, Tesla stock fell 4.32% on Monday, placing the price at $686.17.

The formal inquiry comes only months after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board said they were investigating the firm after a collision in Texas. Several investigations against Tesla’s Autopilot have been launched in recent months, including one in March after a Model Y utilizing the technology collided with a stopped police car.

Tesla had been previously cleared by NHTSA

In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a similar investigation into Autopilot after a Tesla driver was killed when his Model S collided with a tractor-trailer while the technology was on. At the end of the Obama administration, on Jan. 19, 2017, the evaluation was completed with NHTSA saying, “a safety-related defect trend has not been identified at this time, and further examination of this issue does not appear to be warranted.”

According to Ed Niedermeyer, communications director for the group Partners for Automated Vehicle Education, drivers need to realize that these systems can’t drive themselves.

What this means

Following a series of catastrophic incidents in which at least 17 people were wounded, and one died, federal car safety officials have opened a formal inquiry into Tesla’s Autopilot technology.

This investigation may distort Tesla’s bullish momentum and cause the shares to decline.

Tesla has been investigated in 2016 and cleared of wrongdoing.

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Rebroadcasted:Okwosi Esther

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