Tesla Misses NHTSA Deadline Regarding Autopilot Death, Gets An Extension

Tesla Model S driving 7 photos
Photo: Tesla
The sketch of the fatal Tesla Model S Autopilot accidentTesla Autopilot in actionTesla Model S drives itself out of garageTesla Model S instrument cluster with Autopilot displayTesla Model S on roadTesla Model S driving with Autopilot
Tesla has missed the initial deadline to present its conclusions on the fatal Model S accident that occurred on May 7, 2016.
The automaker was supposed to reveal the findings to the NHTSA by August 26, 2016, but that did not happen. Instead, Tesla requested an extension of the deadline, which has been granted by the NHTSA. The new agreement will have Tesla present its conclusions to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by September 2, 2016.

The NHTSA’s investigation on the Autopilot incident included an information request to Tesla, which was submitted on July 8, 2016, as Business Insider notes. The particular request was sent to Matthew Schwall, the director of field performance engineering at Tesla.

Evidently, Mr. Schwall was already involved in the inquiry of the accident, which was reportedly caused by the Autonomous Emergency Braking System, and not the Autopilot technology.

The request from the NHTSA solicited both all available knowledge regarding the accident that ended Joshua Brown’s life, and the entire list of all known defects of the Forward Collision Warning system or Automatic Emergency Braking system.

In other words, the NHTSA wants to know if Tesla is aware of any other faults of one of the two technologies mentioned above, or if an only glitch caused the Florida death.

Furthermore, Tesla must also inform the NHTSA of any tests performed by Tesla on its Autopilot feature before and after the incident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also wants to know if Tesla had made any modifications to the technology that could have resulted in the alleged defect.

Since Tesla updates the operating software of its vehicles periodically, the automaker should have a long list of changes that need to be checked again.

According to Business Insider, one of Tesla’s spokespersons has replied that the company has already supplied the NHTSA with the information requested on July 8, but required a one-week extension of the deadline to handle the other information that was solicited. Tesla’s representative is confident that it will provide the relevant data on time.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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