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Replicating NHTSA's Extraordinary Safety Claims
about Tesla's Autopilot/Autosteer System

Closing Resume

Tesla Model S Post-crash.

NHTSA's Claims

Crash Site.

Site Scan.

Collision Damage.

Quality Control Systems Corp. filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on June 28, 2017 in federal District Court for the District of Columbia to obtain crash data withheld from the public by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The data we are seeking involve crashes with airbag deployments and Tesla Incorporated's Autopilot driver assistance program. The data were analyzed by NHTSA as part of the Agency's investigation (PE16-007) into the Automatic Emergency Braking or Autopilot systems of Model Year 2014-2016 Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles.

Independent, scientific researchers need the data to assess the validity of the remarkable claim made by NHTSA that airbag deployments in Tesla vehicles dropped by almost 40 percent after the installation of a component of the Tesla's Autopilot system, Autosteer.

Our complaint against the U.S. Department of Transportation can be downloaded by clicking the image below:

Download the FOIA complaint.

We seek to know if the methodology NHTSA used is scientifically valid and whether their results can be replicated. Other questions include whether the reduction in crash rates is actually due to Autosteer itself and whether the claimed crash reductions could be expected to continue over a longer period of time.

The surprising improvement in crash safety that NHTSA associates with Autosteer would be very welcomed if the dramatic safety claims prove to be scientifically sound. But it is concerning that the crash reductions are associated with the "installation" of Autosteer, rather than the actual use of Autosteer.

NHTSA's analysis is just as astonishing for the fact that it lacks the most basic information necessary for reaching well-founded conclusions about the claimed crash rate reductions. It is very remarkable that the published description of the Agency's findings do not meet long-established scientific standards that would allow for an assessment of statistical confidence intervals or of statistical significance. Even the numerators and the denominators of the calculated crash rates are AWOL.

The surprising claim by NHTSA of an extraordinary reduction in crash rates associated with the installation of Autosteer must be carefully considered in the context of the Agency's failure to allow public access to the underlying data. Such an important conclusion by the Agency should not be based on data that the government is withholding from researchers who want to examine NHTSA's results.

If you have questions about our research, please to send us an email.

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Our Research

Our Press Clippings

The Evolving Public Narrative of Unintended Acceleration

Keeping Secrets about NASA's "Toyota Study" of Unintended Acceleration

Covering Up Redactions in NASA's "Toyota Study" of Unintended Acceleration

Toyota's Electronic Throttle Control Systems

Unintended Lessons in Quality Control: Toyota Motor Corp.

Vehicle Safety Tracking Watch Lists

Ford Explorers in Fatal, Tire-related Crashes

Crash Mapping

15-Passenger Van Rollovers

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