A Tesla Model S in self-driving mode was reportedly involved in a fatal car accident in 2015, reports Reuters. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening a preliminary investigation into the incident.
The investigation will look into any design flaws that may have caused the fatalities to occur. According to Reuters, this is the first step toward a full-on recall.
Update: Tesla addressed the incident in a blog post this afternoon, in which the company noted that the fatality rate for Tesla cars using Autopilot was still less than that of all vehicles in the U.S. From the post:
We learned yesterday evening that NHTSA is opening a preliminary evaluation into the performance of Autopilot during a recent fatal crash that occurred in a Model S. This is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated. Among all vehicles in the US, there is a fatality every 94 million miles. Worldwide, there is a fatality approximately every 60 million miles. It is important to emphasize that the NHTSA action is simply a preliminary evaluation to determine whether the system worked according to expectations.