Tesla, NTSB clash over fatal auto crash probe

An Update on Last Week's Accident | Tesla

The reason behind the NTSB's decision is that Tesla violated the agreement of the investigation by releasing information before it was confirmed and approved by the NTSB.

This system allows parties information to "take any immediate actions necessary to ensure safety", the NTSB said, although Tesla remains party to two other ongoing crash investigations. Releasing incomplete information often leads "to speculation and incorrect assumptions about the probable cause of a crash, which does a disservice to the investigative process and the traveling public", the agency said.

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

While rare, the NTSB has revoked party status in other investigations.

It is crucial that companies accurately outline limitations of automatic driving systems and the circumstances in which they can and cannot take over steering, braking, and lane-keeping, attorneys for the U.S. units of carmakers including Hyundai, Toyota, Volkswagen, and supplier company Continental said at a recent legal conference. Walter Huang was driving his Tesla Model X southbound on California Route 101 when he crashed headlong into a divider that separates the left-most lane from an offramp. It's also refused to comment on how many alerts can be ignored before the system disengages, what version of Autopilot software was in Huang's Model X, or when the vehicle was built.

Tesla said the Autopilot system always reminded drivers to be alert and keep their hands on the wheel.

Shortly after Tesla released the information, NTSB spokesman Christopher O'Neil said the agency was "unhappy" about the disclosure. Photographs of the SUV show that the front of the vehicle was demolished. The company has also argued that the victim in the Model X crash is exclusively responsible for the accident, with the damaged highway divider to blame for its severity - not the Model X, which apparently steered itself into the concrete divider at highway speed.

An Update on Last Week's Accident | Tesla
Tesla under fire after latest crash statement

Tesla also attributed the extent of the crash to a missing or damaged safety shield on the end of the freeway barrier.

The NTSB, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are looking into the crash, as well as another Tesla crash in January near Los Angeles in which a Model S sedan smashed into a fire truck parked on a freeway.

The stakes for Tesla's bid to defend Autopilot are significant.

The safety board - which earlier this month said it was not happy Tesla had released information on the crash - on Thursday disputed Tesla's claim that it withdrew from the investigation.

Earlier this year, Elon Musk told investors that the company aimed to have a production capacity of one million Model Y units per year, though he did not specify a timeline. "If anything, the NTSB is shining a spotlight on Tesla due to their innovation", Friedman said. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted ($0.69) EPS. sell-side analysts expect that Tesla will post -15.15 EPS for the current fiscal year. "Tesla warns, but in products, liability warnings don't protect you against design defect claims", said University of SC law professor Bryant Walker Smith, who focuses on automated driving.

Huang's family previously told KGO-TV that he had repeatedly complained that the car's semiautonomous system kept veering toward the same barrier. Musk claimed nearly 18 months ago that the system will eventually render Tesla vehicles capable of full self-driving, and much of the value of the $51 billion company is linked to views that it could be an autonomous-car pioneer. "It unequivocally makes the world safer for the vehicle occupants, pedestrians and cyclists", the company said in a recent blog post.

The rapid about-face on Tesla's stance towards the NTSB is the really interesting thing here, however.

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