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Published: Thu, July 14, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

United States probes Tesla on autopilot system failures after fatal crash

United States probes Tesla on autopilot system failures after fatal crash

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is giving Tesla until August 29 to fully answer questions about the fatal crash of one of its 2015 Model S cars that was operating with its automated driving system activated. However, CEO Elon Musk insists that the company will do no such thing.

The agency's nine-page letter dated July 8 was made public Tuesday.

The automaker has until August 26 to comply. Drivers also must be prepared to take over at any time, Tesla has said.

In the accident, a Tesla Model S in autopilot mode failed to recognize a truck being driven across the highway in front of it and slammed into it.

"Our blog post last week provided the relevant information about this issue", the spokesperson said, pointing to a Tesla press release on June 30 in which it disclosed the accident for the first time that asserted the May 7 crash didn't require disclosure to investors.

The radar technology of a Tesla Model S containing Autopilot features is pointed out during a Tesla event in Palo Alto, California, in October 2015. Tesla states clearly in its owner's manual that drivers should stay alert and keep their hands on the wheel to avoid accidents when the Autopilot feature is engaged.

It has asked for details about all updates made to autopilot since it was enabled a year ago, as well as information about forthcoming changes.

The NHTSA sends such letters as a part of its safety investigations.

Tesla stock dipped less than 0.1% to 224.65 in the stock market today.

Musk told the Journal that Tesla has no plans to disable the Autopilot system in its cars and instead plans to educate its customers further on how the technology works.

CNet explains that Model S sedans and Model X SUV vehicles use cameras and radar while in Autopilot mode to steer the auto in its lane and match traffic speeds.

Tesla added that Autopilot is best used on highways with a central dividing line or while in slow-moving traffic.

Tesla valued the total liability created by the resale value guarantee at US$1.58 billion as of March 31, according to its latest quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, up over 20 percent since the end of 2015.

He said that he's not sure if the crash was his fault of the car's, but he was driving on narrow canyon road at 12.30am at between 55 and 60mph (the local speed limit is 55mph).

"NHTSA has not made any determination about the presence or absence of a defect in the subject vehicles".

In a July 10 tweet, Musk wrote that what "beta" means for Tesla is "any system w (with) less than 1B miles of real world driving".

SEC officials are reportedly investigating whether the fatality involving Tesla's Autopilot technology could be viewed as potentially having a significant effect on the financial health of the company and, as a result, would be considered "material" information. Tesla confirms that vehicle was in autopilot mode at the time of the accident, and that neither Brown nor autopilot applied the brakes before the crash.

The driver, who wasn't identified by police, said the Model X veered off the right of the road and struck wooden posts holding a cable railing, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jade Shope said.

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