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Tesla, NTSB in dispute on crash probe

Tesla, NTSB in dispute on crash probe

The National Transportation Safety Board told Tesla on Wednesday that the auto maker was being removed from the investigation of a fatal accident, prior to the company announcing it had withdrawn from it, according to a person familiar with the discussion.

Tesla is targeting November 2019 as the start of production for its Model Y sport utility vehicle, with production in China to begin two years later, two sources told Reuters this week, shedding some light on the electric vehicle maker's next project that could tax its resources and capacity. But in a statement released April 12, the NTSB said that Tesla was, in fact, involuntarily removed because it made a decision to release information without running it by the agency first.

This comes after the NTSB said it revoked Tesla's party status in the investigation regarding the fatal crash involving one of Tesla's Model X cars.

Federal investigators will no longer share their findings with Tesla as they look into what caused a fatal crash involving a Model X that was on autopilot after the company said the driver who died was likely at fault.

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Earlier this week, Minami Tamaki LLP, the law firm representing Huang's widow, said it 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 NTSB said in a press release that it had revoked Tesla as a party to the investigation due to Tesla "releasing investigative information before it was vetted and confirmed by the NTSB".

"We don't believe this is right and we will be making an official complaint to Congress", Tesla added, saying it would make open records request to "understand the reasoning behind their focus on the safest cars in America while they ignore the cars that are the least safe". Companies and other organizations can become parties in a probe because they can give technical help and share sensitive information.

Tesla has said it will not need to raise additional funds this year. "His daily routine is to wake up every morning before everyone else to make breakfast for everyone and make coffee for Sevonne", said Will Huang, Walter's brother.

Elon Musk's smart vehicle manufacturing company has been officially removed from the investigation into the fatal crash.

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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 automaker noted that Tesla vehicles with Autopilot engaged had driven through the same area hundreds of times before without incident.

The crash and subsequent fire spurred the investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). His Model X was on Autopilot.

The company confirmed one week later that Huang was using Autopilot during the crash, and that the data recorded showed that his hands were not detected on the wheel in the six seconds before the impact. NHTSA found that even the early version of Tesla Autopilot resulted in 40% fewer crashes and it has improved substantially since then.

"It does happen, but it is rare considering how many investigations we do and how many party members we have", Knudson said.

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"Tesla's response is reflective of its ongoing strategy of doubling down on the explicit warnings it has given to drivers on how to use, and not use, the system", said Mike Ramsey, an analyst at Gartner Inc.