NHTSA and Tesla back themselves into a mutual corner-With Tesla giving NHTSA a way to ding it without exposing the industry

Michael DeKort
4 min readJun 4, 2022


Reference article — US has over 750 complaints of Teslas braking for no reason https://apnews.com/article/technology-politics-health-cd1a51e26baa07678de50cab8ae90ee0

NHTSA is now looking into Tesla “phantom braking”. (Where the vehicle brakes for no reason. A false positive.) With over 750 customer complaints. (Odds are that is a small fraction of the real number for two reasons. Most of Tesla’s customers wouldn’t file a complaint. That would not show proper allegiance to the Pied Piper. The second being the software and hardware, especially in this area, are common. Particularly the camera only system.

From the article — “The letter focuses on Tesla’s testing of the automated systems when it comes to detecting metal bridges, s-shaped curves, oncoming and cross traffic, and different sizes of vehicles including large trucks. The agency also wants information on how cameras deal with reflections, shadows, glare and blockage due to snow or heavy rain.”

As you can see they are going right for those cameras. And areas radar, which Tesla removed, would excel. (Barring the poor fidelity issues Tesla and other’s radars have that force them to ignore stationary and crossing objects. Which would be a false negative. Clearly Tesla should have gone with an imaging radar vs removing the poor radar they had. I believe they chose this path because tesla’s main board cannot handle the second sensor properly.)

The reason I say this particular issue backs NHTSA into a corner and finally permits NHTSA to ding ONLY Tesla, is that camera only system. No one else in the US does this. (Wayve does it in the UK. And Mobileye uses two sets of development and test vehicles. Camera only and those with a full sensor suite.) This means Tesla backed itself into a corner where NHTSA can come after only it. (While far more competent, especially due to having even a poor fidelity radar, the other AV makers in this industry have issues here too. Just far less of them and they can hide these issues where Tesla cannot.) And NHTSA backed itself into a corner by isolating Tesla. Which I assume is a self-induced event. A reaction to NHTSA being lambasted as impotent in these areas to date. Now it can show the world it is doing something. Given this, and the fact that Tesla’s “Autopilot” and Full Self Driving” are debacles, as well as it now being popular to bash these systems. Tesla and Elon Musk, I would expect NHTSA to pull these systems from the road.

More on my POV here. Including how to do this right.

SAE Autonomous Vehicle Engineering magazine editor calling me “prescient” regarding my position on Tesla and the overall driverless vehicle industry’s untenable development and testing approach — (Page 2) https://assets.techbriefs.com/EML/2021/digital_editions/ave/AVE-202109.pdf

Tesla “autopilot” development effort needs to be stopped and people held accountable

· https://medium.com/@imispgh/tesla-autopilot-development-effort-needs-to-be-stopped-and-people-arrested-f280229d2284

Tesla, not the “safety driver”, should likely be charged in the first “Full Self Driving” manslaughter case

· https://imispgh.medium.com/tesla-not-the-safety-driver-should-likely-be-charged-in-the-first-full-self-driving-4da9b27034c

NHTSA should impose an immediate “Autopilot” moratorium and report initial investigation findings in 30 days

· https://imispgh.medium.com/nhtsa-should-impose-an-immediate-autopilot-moratorium-and-report-initial-investigation-findings-de5b6da4d704

The Autonomous Vehicle Industry can be Saved by doing the Opposite of what is being done now to create this technology

· https://medium.com/@imispgh/the-autonomous-vehicle-industry-can-be-saved-by-doing-the-opposite-of-what-is-being-done-now-b4e5c6ae9237

How the failed Iranian hostage rescue in 1980 can save the Autonomous Vehicle industry

· https://imispgh.medium.com/how-the-failed-iranian-hostage-rescue-in-1980-can-save-the-autonomous-vehicle-industry-be76238dea36

My name is Michael DeKort — I am Navy veteran (ASW C4ISR) and a former system engineer, engineering, and program manager for Lockheed Martin. I worked in aircraft simulation, the software engineering manager for all of NORAD, a software project manager on an Aegis Weapon System baseline, and a C4ISR systems engineer for DoD/DHS and the US State Department (counterterrorism). And a Senior Advisory Technical Project Manager for FTI to the Army AI Task Force at CMU NREC (National Robotics Engineering Center)

Autonomous Industry Participation — Air and Ground

- Founder SAE On-Road Autonomous Driving Simulation Task Force

- Member SAE ORAD Verification and Validation Task Force

- Member UNECE WP.29 SG2 Virtual Testing

- Stakeholder USDOT VOICES (Virtual Open Innovation Collaborative Environment for Safety)

- Member SAE G-35, Modeling, Simulation, Training for Emerging AV Tech

- Member SAE G-34 / EUROCAE WG-114 Artificial Intelligence in Aviation

- Member Teleoperation Consortium

- Member CIVATAglobal — Civic Air Transport Association

- Stakeholder for UL4600 — Creating AV Safety Guidelines

- Member of the IEEE Artificial Intelligence & Autonomous Systems Policy Committee

SAE Autonomous Vehicle Engineering magazine editor calling me “prescient” regarding my position on Tesla and the overall driverless vehicle industry’s untenable development and testing approach — (Page 2) https://assets.techbriefs.com/EML/2021/digital_editions/ave/AVE-202109.pdf

Presented the IEEE Barus Ethics Award for Post 9/11 DoD/DHS Whistleblowing Efforts



Michael DeKort

Non-Tribal Truth Seeker-IEEE Barus Ethics Award/9–11 Whistleblower-Aerospace/DoD Systems Engineer/Member SAE Autonomy and eVTOL development V&V & Simulation