Published: Fri, April 13, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

Tesla Model X Crash - NTSB Removes Tesla from Investigation

Tesla Model X Crash - NTSB Removes Tesla from Investigation

The only way the accident could have happened is if Huang "was not paying attention to the road, despite the auto providing multiple warnings to do so, "according to a statement Tesla sent April 10 to Dan Noyes, an investigative reporter with California's ABC7 News".

Autopilot is marketed by Tesla as a semi-autonomous driving system rather than fully autonomous that handles all aspects of driving in certain conditions without expectation of the driver's involvement.

"The crash occurred on a clear day with numerous hundred toes of visibility ahead, which signifies that the one technique for this accident to have occurred is that if Mr. Huang was not paying attention to the road, whatever the vehicle providing numerous warnings to take motion", a Tesla spokesperson knowledgeable Reuters. Vehicle logs from the accident showed no action was taken by Huang before the crash and that he had received warnings from the system to put his hands on the wheel, the company said.

Days later, a spokesperson for the NTSB said the agency was "unhappy" that Tesla released information about the investigation, since it was still in its early stages. It was revealed that the driver in the March 23 crash, who was killed when the vehicle slammed into a highway barrier, was not acting according to its recommendations when the accident occurred. Yet instead of worrying about this, Tesla is forging ahead with the expansion of its lineup: unnamed sources told Reuters today that the company plans to start producing its SUV, the Model Y, in November next year.

An NTSB spokesman said this week that Tesla indicated to the agency that it had already made improvements to Autopilot and was working on additional ones, without being more specific.

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"The firm believes Tesla's Autopilot feature is defective and likely caused Huang's death, despite Tesla's apparent attempt to blame the victim of this bad tragedy", the law firm expected to represent Huang's family said, according to The WSJ. It pointed to USA government data indicating that Tesla's Autosteer system, which is part of Autopilot, reduced crash rates by as much as 40% compared to vehicles without it.

The NTSB has used the party system for decades as part of its investigative process and offers party status to those organizations that can provide technical assistance.

Mr. Musk said that Tesla was making progress.

The role of Autopilot is central to the investigation into the March 23 accident in which Walter Huang, of San Mateo, was killed when his Tesla crashed into a barrier between Highway 101 and Highway 85, in Mountain View.

Eight months after the first, largely hand-built Model 3s were delivered in late July 2017, Tesla said last week it had built 2,000 of the cars in a seven-day period.

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NTSB investigations are comprehensive, independent, and thorough. Parties must agree to not release certain investigative information, however, before the NTSB concludes the inquiry. "There is no company that cares more about safety and the evidence speaks for itself".

The crash and subsequent fire spurred the investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The NTSB is investigating two crashes this year in which Tesla drivers were using Autopilot. For Tesla, there is one fatality, including known pedestrian fatalities, every 320 million miles in vehicles equipped with Autopilot hardware.

Sumwalt's letter confirmed that last week, he and Musk had discussed Tesla's party status and the release of investigation information in a blog post. In other words, if Tesla can actually hit the 20,000 units per week threshold by this coming June, Musk's projection above will be on the nose.

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