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Blog NTSB “Unhappy” With Tesla’s Comment on Fatal Model X Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it is “unhappy” that Tesla released information about a March 23rd crash that killed a driver, the Washington Post reported Sunday.

The driver was on a busy stretch of Highway 101 when his Model X drifted out of its lane and crashed into a concrete rail. Tesla published a blog post last week on the crash, saying that Autopilot was in use when the accident occurred.

But, it seems the NTSB didn’t appreciate Tesla commenting on the specifics of the accident during an active investigation.

“In each of our investigations involving a Tesla vehicle, Tesla has been extremely cooperative on assisting with the vehicle data,” an agency spokesman told the Washington Post. “However, the NTSB is unhappy with the release of investigative information by Tesla.”

Tesla’s blog post didn’t offer any explanation as to why the car drifted out of its lane, but suggested that the driver ignored warnings to grab the wheel. “The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision,” the company said in the post.

The NTSB said not to expect further comment until the completion of a preliminary report, which generally occurs within a few weeks of completion of field work, the Washington Post reported.

Update (2:50 p.m. ET): In response to a tweet from TMC linking to this story, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk defended the automaker’s decision to release information about the crash.

“Lot of respect for NTSB, but NHTSA regulates cars, not NTSB, which is an advisory body,” Musk tweeted. “Tesla releases critical crash data affecting public safety immediately & always will. To do otherwise would be unsafe.”


“NHTSA” refers to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation with a stated mission to “save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards and enforcement activity.”

Photo: NBC Bay Area

 
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NTSB should just do their job.
I think it took almost 16 or 18 months on the last investigation of the Florida Model S crash.
Any idea how many people die in car wrecks in a year and a half? NTSB - get to work, do your job, it might actually help save some lives.

NTSB certainly doesn't need to be Tesla's Public Relations Department and decide what Tesla should or shouldn't say.
Who in the world cares what NTSB thinks about any car makers press releases. Unless the auto maker tries to deceive or lie. Then a heads up would be appreciated.

Did the NTSB help save any lives with GM ignition switch that shut off the engine and disabled the air-bag? Seems over a hundred people died from that little problem. I better stop ranting. I could go on and on after watching the US auto industry fail at safety over and over again and how little the regulators did. Took Ralph Nader (and other law suits) to help get the auto industry to consider safety over profits/cost.

Ford Pinto - Ford actual did a cost/benefit analysis and decided that the law suits would be cheaper than fixing the fuel tank design problem. Seriously, look for your self.

Ford Pinto - Wikipedia

Of course, you might suspect the "auto industry/FORD" view/slant is more generous than mine. Decide for your self. You do you trust? After all, it is just business.

NTSB - just get to work.

PS -
Ford Pinto > ENGINEERING.com

"During design and production, however, crash tests revealed a serious defect in the gas tank. In crashes over 25 miles per hour, the gas tank always ruptured. To correct it would have required changing and strengthening the design."

And yet, people will argue IF they should have fixed this little problem.
And argue that critics were unfair. give me a break
 
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thegruf

Active Member
Mar 24, 2015
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I am very happy that Tesla released the limited statement of facts they did.

It confirms the AP was being used and it was prompting the driver in the expected way. It also says that the system had 5x/150m of clear view of the barrier prior to impact.

This means that I take this into account in my daily use of AP and take extra care of AP behaviour at junctions such as this.

Tesla's limited but prompt and timely statement has immediately improved my safety in using AP. Thankyou Tesla.

The subsequent investiagtions into all aspects of the accident including the shocking failure to reset the attenuator after a prior accident can continue and no doubt will report in the fullness of time.
 
Regardless of who is at fault, this accident wouldn't have happened if AP had geo fleet learning. The computer should know that thousands of Teslas have driven the two paths within the actual lanes and that no Teslas have ever travelled in between the lines that lead to the concrete divider.
Gps fleet learning of routes seems like it should be in place as a redundancy.
 
Regardless of who is at fault, this accident wouldn't have happened if AP had geo fleet learning. The computer should know that thousands of Teslas have driven the two paths within the actual lanes and that no Teslas have ever travelled in between the lines that lead to the concrete divider.
Gps fleet learning of routes seems like it should be in place as a redundancy.
Very true, until then never get distracted when using AP, especially replying to emails and texting. Tesla issued warning statement for a reason when using AP for not having perfected it.

Tesla is no where ready in city/urban streets. Lot more work to be done.
 
This is great, where do we find the third-party verification of Tesla's claims!

Oh. Wait.

Maybe in 3 moths. Definitely 6.

fGwbvr_L_400x400.jpg
 
the ntsb usually investigates airplane accidents, where long delays between accident and report are common. they do excellent investigations, and their reports are trustworthy and objective. a lot to be said for this. however, as the dawn of autonomous vehicle approaches, they need to realize that their standard investigation model is too slow for the public.
 
  • Helpful
Reactions: Ulmo and Krugerrand
On Monday, ABC Channel 7 reported that the victim's brother stated:

"...7-10 times the car would swivel toward that same exact barrier during auto-pilot. Walter took it into dealership addressing the issue, but they couldn't duplicate it there."

Not to speak ill of the dead, but if that is true, why did the driver not have his hands on the steering wheel during the fatal approach?
 
This is a very logical problem for the lane control electronics. Whenever the system is given a choice between equally attractive alternatives, it is time to take control. I learned early, to note these conditions as they arise. You have generally 1-2 seconds to recognize the situation and be sure that the car makes the correct choice. A divide in the road, a freeway off-ramp, and similar situations are clearly a challenge. Not stated in the Tesla post was whether driver intervened at the last moment because the car selected the incorrect choice and tried to correct the steering to the correct choice. This would be a logical decision for a driver that was a bit slow in response to the situation.
 
Often, with hands on the steering wheel while in Autopilot mode, I get warnings to put my hands on the wheel. The steering wheel sensors require a pretty heavy hand. The unfortunate driver of the car who died in this accident may very well have had his hands on the steering wheel, even though the electronic record states that he did not.
 
  • Disagree
Reactions: sundaymorning
Often, with hands on the steering wheel while in Autopilot mode, I get warnings to put my hands on the wheel. The steering wheel sensors require a pretty heavy hand. The unfortunate driver of the car who died in this accident may very well have had his hands on the steering wheel, even though the electronic record states that he did not.

The driver would have been able to steer the car to the correct lane if he had his hands on the wheel, even a last second aftempt to take control would have steered the car elsewhere other than the center divider. I’ve driven AP, it doesn’t take much to catch my attention and steer the car. Sometimes the car would want to take an exit, I feel it, and steer it back. The center divider was 5 seconds away.. it only takes a fraction of a second to take control. He was likely not paying attention and hands were elsewhere.
 

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