Tesla stock drops as US government investigates Autopilot system

Tesla shares fell by as much as 5.43%

Tesla Inc. shares were under pressure Monday after a U.S. regulator announced a formal investigation into the company’s Autopilot after a series of accidents left one person dead and 17 injured.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s probe will look into 765,000 Tesla Model Y, X, S and 3 vehicles from model years 2014-2021.

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"Most incidents took place after dark and the crash scenes encountered included scene control measures such as first responder vehicle lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board, and road cones," the NHTSA said. All of the incidents involved vehicles that were engaged in Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control. 

Shares of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based electric-car maker slid as much as 5.43% to $678.18 apiece, the lowest level since July 30. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TSLA TESLA, INC. 866.97 +2.70 +0.31%

These aren’t the first accidents involving Tesla’s Autopilot system that the NHTSA has investigated. At least 25 incidents involving the self-driving system have been looked into. 

Tesla’s Autopilot system is designed to maintain the vehicle’s speed and keep it centered. It is not supposed to be operated hands-free. 

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Tesla last month reported quarterly net income for the first time topped $1 billion, up from $104 million the prior year. 

Tesla shares were up 1.63% this year through Friday compared with the S&P 500’s 19% gain.