"It's been clear in our conversations with the NTSB that they're more concerned with press headlines than actually promoting safety", a Tesla spokesperson told FOX Business.
The dispute centers on the investigation of March 23 crash in which Tesla owner Walter Huang, 38, was killed when his 2017 Model X, running in semi-automated "Autopilot" mode, smashed into a concrete median on US 101 near Mountain View, California.
"That's analytical in nature, saying what caused the accident", Knudson said, referring to Tesla's statement.
Tesla defended the Autopilot system in both posts. For a company working on the front line of autonomous driving research, those seem like very unsafe moves indeed.
Companies that no longer have formal status as a party to an NTSB investigation can lose access to information uncovered in the probe and the ability to shape the official record of the incident, said Peter Goelz, a former managing director at the NTSB who is now senior vice president at O'Neill & Associates, a Washington lobbying and public relations firm. Huang died March 23 in a fiery Tesla crash in Mountain View on his way to work. They said Walter did not have his hands on the wheel at the time of the crash, despite repeated warnings to take control of the vehicle. "The only way for this accident to have occurred is if Mr. Huang was not paying attention to the road", Tesla reportedly said in a statement.
The law firm said its preliminary review suggested the autopilot feature was defective and had uncovered complaints by other Tesla drivers of navigational errors by the system.
Tesla promises to continue cooperating with the agency, providing technical assistance.
According to the NTSB, sharing information about an ongoing investigation with companies, emergency responders, and other groups allows those parties to take any immediate actions necessary to ensure safety.
The supplier contracts being sought by Tesla now are usually picked up two to two-and-a-half years ahead of production, Reuters reports, making the rumoured start date very ambitious when compared to industry averages.
The family of Huang has hired the law firm of Minami Tamaki to represent it in upcoming suits to be filed against Tesla, and potentially, the company's subcontractors that helped design and build the Autopilot system. Huang's family says he complained to Tesla service departments on multiple occasions that Autopilot had steered his vehicle on multiple occasions toward the barrier that his auto eventually crashed into.
An NTSB spokesman declined to respond to Tesla's comments.
While Tesla said they are "incredibly sorry" for Sevonne's loss, they blamed the acciden ton her husband. It also warned Huang several times on the day of the crash to do so. While it sounds like the family is gearing up to sue, Fong said he doesn't expect to file a lawsuit until after the National Transportation Safety Board is fully done with its investigation.