Federal investigators say they have booted electric car maker Tesla from a group that's investigating a fatal March 23 crash of a Tesla Model X SUV in California. The National Transportation Safety Board said it removed Tesla as a party to the investigation after the company prematurely made information public, meaning the NTSB will no longer share info about the crash with Tesla, reports the AP. In a statement on March 30, Tesla confirmed that the semi-autonomous Autopilot system was operating at the time of the crash and seemed to blame the crash on the driver, Walter Huang, 38, a software engineer for Apple. Tesla said Huang didn't have his hands on the steering wheel for six seconds before the impact and also received several warnings from the vehicle.
Shortly after Tesla released the information, a rep for the NTSB said the agency was "unhappy" about the disclosure. "Such releases of incomplete information often lead to speculation and incorrect assumptions about the probable cause of a crash," the agency said in a statement. Tesla, however, said it withdrew from the party agreement two days earlier, after being told that it would be removed if it made additional statements before the NTSB finished its probe in the next 12 to 24 months. The company said it released information to correct "misleading" claims being made about Autopilot creating safety problems. In a statement about the escalating dispute, Tesla said it would file a complaint with Congress and accused the NTSB of being more concerned with "press headlines" than promoting safety.
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