Tesla, Inc., has found itself embroiled in a lawsuit with respect to the safety of its autonomous vehicles. The company has been accused of misleading consumers in believing that Tesla vehicles can transport passengers on the interstate, traveling at high speeds, safely.
The lawsuit is a result of a Florida crash involving a Tesla Model S driver who was injured after operating the vehicle using the car’s Autopilot system which malfunctioned while traveling at interstate speed. The crux of the lawsuit is a claim that the Autopilot system poses what is claimed to be “an inordinately high risk of high-speed collisions.”
The problem alleged is that the car’s Autopilot self-driving system malfunctioned, causing the car to steer erratically when traveling at a high speed. The plaintiff’s attorneys allege that the company has not been receptive to ensuring that safety features are installed on these vehicles.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California and is requesting class-action status, which is pending. In response, Tesla has firmly denied the claims and has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, stating that the legal claims made are meant only to secure attorney’s fees and have no basis.
The concept of autonomous driving has led to concern for many consumers, especially when accidents occur at the hand of these self-driving vehicles. While critics of this technology have warned of the risks, the government has been extremely supportive in promoting the development of self-driving technology in hopes of cutting accident rates, as well as highway deaths. However, lawsuits, such as this one, seem to give pause for concern as to just how safe this technology is at this point.
Tesla has always promoted itself as being the leader in self-driving vehicle technology, which is likely why the company is so adamant that the claims in this lawsuit are not valid. Tesla vehicles utilize sensors and radars to keep the self-driving vehicle in its lane, to help with braking and speeding up with the flow of traffic and to allow the car to change lanes on its own.
With any kind of new technology, a few kinks are to be expected as it develops. However, the lawsuit claims that the company has not updated their technology after being alerted to any issues. In fact, Tesla owners were told that their automatic braking and collision avoidance systems were going to be flashed via over-the-air updates by December. The problem is these updates have not gone through as planned. Many are left to wonder how many more accidents will occur because of this problem.
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