Scene Of May 7th Tesla Model S Fatality (via ABC News/Bobby Vankavelaar)
The fatal Tesla Model S crash has been on the NHTSA's radar since Tesla first informed the agency of the incident way back on May 16, just nine days after the crash, yet it took the NHTSA quite some time (and thousands of international headline news stories) before it opened a formal investigation into the matter.
Now, the NHTSA is asking for more information from Tesla.
Specifically, as Automotive News reports:
"U.S. highway safety regulators have demanded that Tesla Motors Inc. hand over detailed information about the design, operation and testing of its Autopilot technology following a May 7 fatal crash in which the system was in use."
"The agency's nine-page letter dated July 8 was made public Tuesday. It requires the Palo Alto-based automaker to file responses in the coming weeks."
It seems that the NHTSA is actually seeking any and all information related to Autopilot, including design parameters, results from Tesla's independent testing, etc. Automotive News adds:
"The agency is seeking details of all design changes and updates to Autopilot since it went into use last year, and information on whether Tesla plans updates in the next four months."
"It also wants records of how many times the system told drivers to put their hands on the wheel and how often that led to the car automatically reducing vehicle power."
"Other questions include what Autopilot does when cameras and sensors aren't working properly, how the system was tested, and how it filters out "false positive events and interventions."
So, basically, the NHTSA is seeking all Autopilot-related data and information and expects Tesla to openly provide this info, which we assume Tesla will once it has collected all the essential information.
Automotive News says that Tesla wouldn't comment on the NHTSA letter, which is typical during an open investigation.
NHTSA spokesman Bryan Thomas did offer up a comment, saying that the agency "has not made any determination about the presence or absence of a defect in the subject vehicles."
Source: Automotive News