Tesla withdraws from NTSB cooperation agreement

Elon Musk's firm has drawn an angry response for saying the fatal Model X crash was the driver's fault. AP

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. This sharing ensures that a party to an investigation has sufficient information to take any immediate actions necessary to ensure safety. 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. Among other things, they repeatedly released partial bits of incomplete information to the media in violation of their own rules, at the same time that they were trying to prevent us from telling all the facts.

Walter crashed into a barrier in Mountain View, California on March 23. The company isn't technically wrong here; Autopilot does indeed rattle off both audio and visual notifications when a driver removes their hands from the wheel.

This statement fell afoul of NTSB protocols, prompting the company's removal from the investigations over a call directly from NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt to Elon Musk himself, described by a Bloomberg source as "tense".

Tesla's announcement late on Wednesday in California came after the company publicly blamed the driver for the crash and made statements about the incident that drew criticism from the NTSB.

"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 auto providing numerous warnings to take motion", a Tesla spokesperson knowledgeable Reuters.

"It is unfortunate that Tesla, by its actions, did not abide by the party agreement", Sumwalt said in the NTSB statement on Thursday.

Tesla remains a party to other ongoing investigations the NTSB is running, including a Model X crash in August 2017, and a Model S crash in January of this year.

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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 awful tragedy", the law firm expected to represent Huang's family said, according to The WSJ.

Tesla's initial statement announcing its withdrawal did not disclose that the NTSB was revoking its status.

Tesla did make some changes to Autopilot in the wake of Brown's death.

His comments are inconsistent with Tesla's statement earlier this month, when the company said Model 3 may exceed the growth rate that Ford Motor Co (NYSE:F).exhibited with the Model T.

Back in July, we reported that Tesla has been working on revamping its maps and navigation system with its own maps using new open source modules from MapBox and Valhalla.

Tesla retains its party status in several other NTSB investigations involving Tesla vehicles, including the crash of a Tesla auto that was operating under Autopilot when it drove into a fire truck in California. It said he took his hands off the wheel "several times" before the crash. 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.

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