Tesla under investigation for autonomous vehicles

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The US Department of Justice has asked Tesla to turn over documents related to its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving autonomous driving programs, according to documents filed with regulators.

"To the best of our knowledge, no government agency in any ongoing investigation has determined that any illegality has occurred," Tesla stated in filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The electric vehicle maker has warned that if the government decides to take action against it, it could impact its business.

The Justice Department has not commented on the matter.

Austin, Texas-based Tesla Inc. is already facing numerous investigations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) over problems with its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving autonomous driving programs.

Despite the names these programs have, Tesla makes it clear on its website that the cars are not fully autonomous. Vehicles equipped with Full Self-Driving are capable of driving on streets in many cases, but experts say the system can make mistakes, something even CEO Elon Musk has acknowledged.

"We're not saying they're ready to go with no one behind the wheel," Musk said in October.

The systems have been under investigation by NHTSA since June 2016, after the driver of one of the Autopilot-enabled vehicles was killed when the car ran under a trailer in Florida. Another investigation began in August 2021, when a Tesla vehicle with Autopilot collided with emergency vehicles. At least 14 Teslas have crashed into emergency vehicles using the Autopilot system.

NHTSA has dispatched investigators to 35 Tesla crashes involving allegedly automated driving systems. Nineteen people died in those events, including two motorcyclists.

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