Reuters reports that the company received the penalty for violating U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) rules. The outlet says DOT investigators found the company failed to register itself as a transporter of hazardous material. This conclusion came from February 2023 inspections of Neuralink facilities in Texas and California.
Additionally, the report says DOT found improper packaging of hazardous waste, including Xylene, a flammable liquid. Reuters cites DOT documents confirming the fine totaled $2,480. The outlet says the fine registers lower than the initial one levied because Neuralink agreed to fix the issues.
Neuralink is no stranger to government scrutiny. Reuters reported about a year ago that the U.S. government would look into Neuralink after reports of errors resulting in repeated experiments, with more animals losing their lives as a result.
Now, following a letter from U.S. lawmakers urging the SEC to look into Neuralink’s monkey deaths (reported by Wired in November), Musk denied the allegations of gruesome deaths as a result of the BCI implant.
Business Insider reported that, at The New York Times’ Dealbook conference, Musk said the test monkeys live in “monkey paradise.” He went on to say that the implant set for first-in-human testing never directly caused the death of a monkey.
More about Neuralink
Despite juggling multiple government inquiries at once, Musk’s Neuralink brain-computer interface (BCI) company has also been in the news for positive reasons over the past year or so.
The company won a regulatory nod in May for a first-in-human implant, and in September it opened up recruitment for its clinical trial. Musk also announced in August that Neuralink brought in $280 million, and the company in November added a further $43 million.
Neuralink develops an implant called the N1 that comes in at about the size of a coin. Remotely rechargeable, the implant goes along with electrode-laced threads that go further into the brain. Neuralink also has an R1 robot meant to be programmed to implant the BCI system while avoiding vasculature.
The company designed its system to enable users to control a computer or mobile device anywhere they go.
(Neuralink is featured among MassDevice’s 2022 list of seven BCI companies you need to know. We also published a 2023 list that includes five more you should know.)