Tesla issues statement on fatal Model X collision, withdraws from NTSB agreement

A Tesla Inc. Model 3 stands on display during Auto Mobility LA ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles on Nov. 30 2017

Tesla promises to continue cooperating with the agency, providing technical assistance.

There was some back and forth between Tesla and the NTSB on why the electric auto maker was removed from the investigation and whether it had chosen to leave or not.

Tesla has offered no official comment on the Model Y's production timeline.

The difficulty of keeping drivers in automated vehicles engaged - combined with the broader safety benefits of ensuring that drivers in traditional vehicles aren't peering at electronic devices or nodding off - is a growing safety concern that's spurred several auto companies, including GM and Subaru, to deploy infrared cameras in the cockpit trained on the driver to track head and eye movement.

Motorists today are bombarded by distractions from mobile phones to in-dash navigation systems, Reimer said.

According to data Tesla gave NHTSA investigators prior to its decision against any recall, Autopilot's steering system may prevent the rate of crashes per million miles driven by about 40 percent, a figure the company cited in its latest statement. The Company produces and sells two electric vehicles: the Model S sedan and the Model X sport utility vehicle (SUV). "The firm's preliminary review has uncovered complaints by other Tesla drivers of navigational errors by the Autopilot feature, and other lawsuits have also made this complaint", Minami Tamaki said in a strongly-worded statement.

Tesla said in a blog post last month that Huang didn't have his hands on the wheel for six seconds before striking the barrier where lanes split on the freeway.

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It added that the system had actively provided several visual and one audible hands-on warnings earlier in the drive, but these were not heeded.

"The crash happened on a clear day with several hundred feet of visibility ahead, which means that the only way for this accident to have occurred is if Mr. Huang was not paying attention to the road, despite the vehicle providing multiple warnings to do so", it continued.

Tesla has said Huang had activated Autopilot and it was in operation at the time of the crash.

Disparities have emerged in a dispute between Tesla and the NTSB over the investigation of a fatal Autopilot crash in March. The driver, who wasn't hurt, told people on the scene he was using Autopilot, according to a tweet by the union for Culver City firefighters. It's somewhere in the neighbourhood of 10 seconds or longer. A previous crash involved a Tesla Model S, which collided with a semi-trailer truck in Florida in 2016, killing its driver. Even if Tesla was, in fact, removed from the investigation, it wouldn't be unprecedented - Bloomberg notes that the feds have given other manufacturers the boot in the past for either making unauthorized statements or failing to provide sufficient information to the investigation.

This is not too surprising, given the NTSB said it was "unhappy" with Tesla following its March 30 disclosure that Autopilot was engaged during the crash.

With the automaker's long-awaited Model 3 still trickling out of the factory in low numbers since its launch in July a year ago, industry experts are questioning whether Tesla can handle a second vehicle at a plant with an already sluggish production rate.

The NTSB has no regulatory powers but makes safety-related recommendations to both the government and transportation companies. Ignoring the warnings will prime the Forester's suite of driver-assist technologies, such as automatic emergency braking, to slow or stop the vehicle to avoid or mitigate a collision. Tesla has said it warns drivers that they are always responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle.


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