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Consumer Reports asks NHTSA to launch Tesla Autopilot investigation

The magazine wants the feds to determine if the technology is defective.

Consumer Reports has called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to launch a formal investigation into Tesla's Autopilot technology.

Recent documents obtained via a FOIA request earlier this week confirmed that Tesla had received a subpoena from the safety agency for details of Autopilot accidents, including a fatal crash early last year that killed the driver after the car failed to brake for a semi trailer stopped across the lane.

"We've been calling for an investigation into potential defects in Tesla's Autopilot system after multiple crashes," Consumer Reports advocacy VP David Friedman said in a statement to Forbes. "Consumers should be aware when an investigation has been opened. Defect investigations are critical."

Previous National Transportation Safety Board reports had not blamed any defects for Autopilot accidents. So far, in all cases, drivers apparently ignored warnings to keep their hands on the wheel while Autopilot was engaged.

"We routinely share information with the agency while also balancing the need to protect customer privacy," Tesla said in a statement. "Tesla has required subpoenas when customer information is requested in order to protect the privacy of our customers."

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