Hyperdrive Daily: Car Crashes Have a Black Box Problem

On Monday, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report on last month’s fatal Tesla crash in Texas. While it revealed some key facts about the incident, there’s still a lot we don’t know…

Part of the problem might be that NHTSA doesn’t have the budget nor the software expertise to effectively investigate accidents involving driver-assist technology, said Philip Koopman, a professor of computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and co-founder of AV consultancy Edge Case Research. This has led NHTSA to ascribe blame for crashes to human drivers without fully exploring the role of software, said Koopman, who has published academic papers to back up his claims.

“They never ask whether it’s software,” he said. The agency “is going to have a problem when there is no human driver to blame.”