Tesla Removed from Crash Investigation for Violating NTSB Rules

14 April, 2018, 14:04 | Author: Becky Perry
  • Tesla has declined to say how long drivers can now use Autopilot between visual or audible warnings to have a hand on the wheel

In January 2017, NTSB released a report about 6 1/2 months after a separate fatal Tesla crash involving a Model S while Autopilot was engaged.

The NTSB took this action because Tesla violated the party agreement by releasing investigative information before it was vetted and confirmed by the NTSB.

At the time, the NTSB said that "operational limits" such as Tesla being unable to ensure that drivers are paying attention when a vehicle travels at high speed played a major role in the 2016 fatal crash. The family's lawyer believes Tesla is blaming Huang to distract from the family's concern about the car's Autopilot.

The supplier contracts being sought by Tesla now are usually picked up two to two-and-a-half years ahead of production, Reuters reports, making the rumoured start date very ambitious when compared to industry averages.

NTSB chair Robert Sumwalt relayed the decision in a call to Tesla's Elon Musk that was described as tense by the person because the chief executive officer was unhappy with the safety board's action.

In a classic "you can't fire me, I quit!" style move, Tesla told CNBC that it withdrew from the NTSB investigation. She said Walter complained that his Tesla's Autopilot had steered toward that same barrier on several occasions.

"We empathize with Mr. Huang's family, who are understandably facing loss and grief, but the false impression that Autopilot is unsafe will cause harm to others on the road", Tesla continued, according to The WSJ.

The statement also does not address what may be a more fundamental challenge for Autopilot technology: Human nature. Even if it means getting booted from a government investigation into its own vehicle.

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Smith said plaintiffs suing Tesla could point to alternative designs, such as General Motors Co's semi-autonomous Super Cruise system which tracks eye movement to monitor whether a driver pays attention.

The automaker says that after the Model Y they plan to produce a pick-up truck, a cargo van and a minibus, all based on the X Model SUV platform.

"We are going to make some capital investments towards the end of this year related to Model Y".

Tesla cars require drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel and warn them if they don't. Tesla had earlier accepted "party status" in the investigation, which allows the parties to share investigative information in the early stages of an accident probe, the agency said. The outlet also said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also eventually launched its own investigation. This reminder is made every single time Autopilot is engaged.

"That's analytical in nature, saying what caused the accident", Knudson said, referring to Tesla's statement.

Musk had said: "Since most cars are only in use by their owner for 5% to 10% of the day, the fundamental economic utility of a true self-driving auto is likely to be several times that of a vehicle which is not". Tesla said that the car's systems had issued warnings to Huang to regain control from Autopilot earlier in the journey.

The law firm said its preliminary review suggested the autopilot feature was defective and had uncovered complaints by other Tesla drivers of navigational errors by the system. So it's easy to imagine the NTSB will come to a similar conclusion once it's done investigating Huang's death, painting Tesla's innovative system in a damning light.

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