Elon Musk’s Tesla AI under investigation in US after crash kills three people

Elon Musk's electric car company Tesla is reportedly facing a new investigation into its 'Autopilot' AI by road safety authorities, after three people were killed in a crash in California last week.

In Orange County, California, a Tesla Model S is said to have a struck the curb and crashed into some construction equipment, killing three occupants of the car.

A further three construction workers were also injured and sent to hospital.

Police have not confirmed whether Tesla's Autopilot was involved, but the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says it is conducting an investigation into the crash and 30 other incidents involving the software.

Autopilot is an AI-powered software designed to teach cars how to drive themselves. Tesla drivers in the US can currently pay a steep annual fee to use 'Full Self-Driving', which helps a car to drive itself with strict driver supervision.

The software is not quite able to navigate roads on its own yet, which is why a driver is required to sit at the steering wheel at all times.

The NHTSA said last August it was investigating Autopilot after 11 crashes which saw Teslas collide with emergency service vehicles, resulting in one death and 17 injuries.

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Elon Musk has not commented on the new investigation, and lacking a media office, Tesla does not routinely offer statements to the press.

The investigation is a second blow to Tesla this week, following revelations from security consultant Sultan Qasim Khan that a hack makes it possible to unlock Tesla Model 3 and Y cars and start the engine without having to physically break in.

Khan claims it is possible to fool the car entry system into thinking the owner is near the vehicle.

This unlocks the doors and makes it possible to start the engine up, making it hypothetically easy for a thief to walk away in a pricy Tesla without even a scratch in the paintwork.

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