Federal Regulators Investigating Fatal Crash of VinFast EV

Federal Regulators Investigating Fatal Crash of VinFast EV
The VF-8 electric vehicle from VinFast, a Vietnamese automaker producing electric cars and SUV's, is displayed at their showroom in Santa Monica, Calif., on Sept. 13, 2022. (Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)

Federal regulators are investigating a California crash that killed four occupants who rode in a VinFast electric SUV, which had automated steering features the owner had earlier complained about.

The VinFast VF8, made by the Vietnamese automaker founded in 2017, veered off the road and crashed into a pole and then a tree before catching fire, according to a complaint posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) web site. Someone claiming to be the vehicle’s owner filed the complaint.

The SUV was being driven by one of the owner’s coworkers with the coworker’s family when the fatal crash occurred, according to the complaint. The occupants killed included two children in the back seat.

The vehicle owner had complained about the performance of the SUV’s automated steering, although it’s not clear if that was a factor in the crash.

Earlier, while the owner was driving, the same vehicle had unexpectedly steered to the right, according to the complaint, in at least two instances. In at least one of those cases, the SUV’s automatic driving assistance features, designed to automatically help the vehicle steer within its own lane, were turned on “by default.” The driver was able to regain control, bringing the vehicle back into the proper lane, according to the complaint.

“The contact was concerned that the failure recurred while the coworker was driving,” the complaint said.

It’s not clear if the vehicle’s Advanced Driving Assistance features were involved in the fatal crash. NHTSA has been investigating numerous incidents involving vehicles from a number of automakers, including Tesla and Ford, in which ADAS systems were in use at the time. Media reports, citing local police, have said that speed was a factor in the crash.

NHTSA’s Special Crash Investigations unit, which investigates incidents deemed to be of particular interest due to unusual circumstances or new technologies involved, will “document the crash circumstances and the ensuing fire,” according a statement from the agency.

“VinFast and NHTSA are working cooperatively to determine the causes of the tragic crash in Pleasanton. NHTSA is not investigating VinFast,” VinFast said in a statement provided to CNN. “The Pleasanton police are currently investigating the cause of the accident and will share their findings when their work is completed.”

The-CNN-Wire
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