The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) newly appointed senior adviser, Missy Cummings, whose background is as a computer science and engineering professor at Duke university, has criticized Tesla for its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving system. Now US Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, has stepped in to support Cummings and criticize Tesla.
Buttigieg’s view is that the NHTSA’s interest is to promote road safety, which is what Missy Cummings will do in her new leading role. He also said that if Tesla CEO Elon Musk has any issues with what the NHTSA is saying, he can speak to him directly in order to find solutions.
He's welcome to call me if he's concerned. We are responsible for making sure that every vehicle on the road is safe.
After Cummings' comments in her new leading role in the NHTSA were made, Elon Musk took to Twitter to say express his view on her being appointed. He argued that she has had previous anti-Tesla positions and her new narrative against the company’s semi-autonomous driving systems is in line with views that she previously expressed against the company. He wrote that
Objectively, her track record is extremely biased against Tesla.
Then Cummings also made a statement that was picked up by media - just like Pete Buttigieg, she announced that she was open to a direct discussion with Elon Musk about the issues that had been raised. This, however, seems unlikely to happen with either Cummings or Buttigieg, but Elon’s ways are unpredictable and he could, in fact, sit down with them one day to discuss the matter.
She replied to Musk's aforementioned tweet with
Happy to sit down and talk with you anytime.