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NTSB blasts Tesla, CalTrans, and NHTSA for Autopilot death

the National Transportation Safety Board
the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency
SAE International
General Motors
Super Cruise
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
the Department of Transportation
Tesla crashTesla
the Ars Orbital Transmission
CNMN Collection WIRED Media Group
Condé Nast

Jonathan M. Gitlin

Walter Huang
Robert Sumwalt
Joshua Brown
Jeremy Banner


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It calls for the NHTSA to expand its testing of forward collision avoidance systems to include things like cross-traffic vehicle profiles and highway infrastructure; these vision-based systems are mostly trained to detect (and only detect) the rear of a car or truck.Further ReadingNTSB: Tesla’s Autopilot UX a “major role” in fatal Model S crash [Updated]Next, the NTSB recommends that NHTSA evaluate Tesla's Autopilot suite of driver aids to discover whether the system is too open to misuse and if "the ability to operate the vehicles outside the intended operational domain design pose[s] a risk to safety." Tesla's Autopilot UX and operational design domain was heavily criticized by the NTSB in its investigation of the fatal crash in 2016 that killed Joshua Brown when he was decapitated after his Model S collided with the side of a tractor-trailer in Florida.The NHTSA has also been asked to work with SAE International "to develop performance standards for driver monitoring systems that minimize driver disengagement and account for foreseeable misuse of automation." Currently, the NHTSA only provides guidance for automakers wishing to sell products with a higher degree of automation, as opposed to features that are marketed as assists that require the human behind the wheel to remain in charge of situational awareness. It also wants Apple specifically to create a policy that bans non-emergency use of cellphones or other handhelds "by all employees and contractors driving company vehicles, operating company issued portable electronic devices, or when using a portable electronic device to engage in work-related communications." As we've been noting for years, the problem of distracted driving continues to deteriorate, and the NHTSA says that around 3,500 deaths occur on the road as a result of distracted driving.The NTSB also had to reiterate a number of previous safety recommendations. Additionally, NTSB again asks the NHTSA to come up with a way of verifying that automakers have equipped their cars with safeguards to prevent driver assists like Autopilot from being used outside the conditions for which they were designed.The NHTSA again asks the Department of Transportation to define the data parameters needed to understand how automated systems behave during a crash, which it says "must reflect the vehicle’s control status and the frequency and duration of control actions to adequately characterize driver and vehicle performance before and during a crash." The NTSB then wants the NHTSA to use those parameters as a benchmark for event data recorders, which should also have a standardized format for reporting crash data to investigators.Further Reading“I was just shaking”—new documents reveal details of fatal Tesla crashTesla is once again asked to add safeguards to Autopilot to prevent it from being misused, and the NTSB again asks the automaker to add a more effective method of determining driver engagement during Autopilot operation to prevent more fatal crashes like those that killed Brown and Huang, as well as Jeremy Banner, who in 2019 was killed in very similar circumstances to the crash that killed Brown three years earlier.

As said here by Jonathan M. Gitlin