Tesla lashed out at the National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday after the agency took the unusual step of removing the automaker as a party to its investigation of a fatal crash in March in which a Tesla vehicle's "Autopilot" system was in use.
The investigation was launched after Walter Huang of San Mateo was killed in March 23 while driving his TeslaModel X on U.S. Highway 101 in Mountain View. Tesla on Thursday defended its disclosures, saying the agreement with the NTSB "requires that we not release information about Autopilot to the public, a requirement which we believe fundamentally affects public safety negatively", a company spokesperson said.
The NTSB expects its full investigation and report to take at least a year and up to two years, an amount of time Tesla doesn't have the patience for to stay mum.
The NTSB indicated that releasing "incomplete information" prior to an official release could lead to incorrection assumptions and speculations regarding the cause of the accident.
The coverage from Reuters continues: "Tesla later said the auto had activated Autopilot, raising new questions about the semi-autonomous system that handles some driving tasks".
The family of Huang has hired the law firm of Minami Tamaki to represent it in upcoming suits to be filed against Tesla, and potentially, the company's subcontractors that helped design and build the Autopilot system.
David Friedman, a former NHTSA acting administrator who now is director of cars and product policy for Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, said the Tesla-NTSB spat could delay the investigation if the agency doesn't have all the electronic information it needs from the company.
Sumwalt said Tesla's comments "speculated as to the cause" of the crash. The agency said that it had informed Tesla CEO Elon Musk the previous evening by phone call. The NTSB guards the integrity of its investigations closely, demanding that participants adhere to rules about what information they can release and their expected cooperation.
The Autopilot section on Tesla's website does state that "every driver is responsible for remaining alert and active. and must be prepared to take action at any time".
While Tesla said they are "incredibly sorry" for Sevonne's loss, they blamed the acciden ton her husband.
Removals from NTSB party agreements are rare. Even though its marketing materials feature the automatic system, Tesla's owners manual tells buyers that they are required to keep their hands on the wheel at all times before activating the system.
Initially, it was unclear whether the vehicle was in Autopilot mode, and the investigation was focused on a damaged collision barrier and the post-crash fire that complicated the emergency response.
Tesla pulled from fatal Autopilot crash investigation.
Not much is known about the SUV, other than it finalises the spelling of "S3XY" if you order the different Tesla vehicle badges correctly.
Huang's family previously told KGO-TV that he had repeatedly complained that the car's semiautonomous system kept veering toward the same barrier.
The NSTB rarely revokes party status in other investigations, but it has happened.
Tesla did make some changes to Autopilot in the wake of Brown's death.
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