Auto Tech

Tesla hasn't formally replied to NTSB over Autopilot inquiries in two years

The NTSB plans to wrap up its latest hearing on the partially automated driving technology with zero response from Tesla.

No word isn't a good look when it comes to the NTSB.

It's been over two years since the National Transportation Safety Board heard a peep from electric carmaker Tesla with regards to automated driver-assist systems, according to a Bloomberg report from Monday.

The silence on Tesla's part will likely lead to increased scrutiny of its Autopilot technology, which allows the car to execute some driving maneuvers in an automated fashion. Autopilot is not a self-driving system. The NTSB recommended in 2017 that automakers, Tesla included, neuter their systems somewhat and allow them to operate only in the driving conditions they're designed for. While Tesla engineered Autopilot for highway use, drivers often engage the system elsewhere. 

The automaker did not immediately respond to Roadshow's request for comment.

In contrast to Tesla, other automakers included in the latest hearing submitted their formal responses to the NTSB's recommendations within a 90-day period. According to Bloomberg, the agency agreed each submitted an acceptable response, which left Tesla out of the conversation on how to implement the safety regulations.

On Tuesday, the NTSB plans to reconvene and discuss Autopilot's role in the fatal crash that killed an Apple engineer. Walter Huang died after his Tesla Model X crashed into a highway barrier with Autopilot engaged.

While Tesla has rolled out updates to Autopilot, which include more reminders that tell drivers to pay attention to the road, rival systems have adopted technology that ensure the driver keeps their hands on the road. Cadillac, for example, is the one of the only brands that can claim it offers a true hands-free driving system in Super Cruise. As long as an infrared camera detects the driver is paying attention, he or she can leave their hands completely off the steering wheel. The system will not engage on any unmapped roads outside of the US highway system.

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