Tesla said in a statement that it was “deeply saddened” about the collision and was “reaching out” to authorities to cooperate. The NTSB added that it typically takes one to two years to complete investigations like this.
This certainly isn’t the first time US safety agencies have investigated Tesla crashes to determine the possible role of Autopilot. However, there are unusually close parallels to a deadly incident from May 2016, when a Model S driver in Florida struck a trailer. His vehicle had Autopilot engaged and also kept going a significant distance after the crash, although investigators cleared Tesla and noted that the driver in that case ignored safety warnings. While the particular circumstances are different, it wouldn’t be out of the question for agents to compare the two cases.