10/31/2018

Lawsuit Claims Tesla’s Autopilot System Isn’t Safe

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A lawsuit in Florida claims that Tesla Inc. overstates the safety of its semi-automatic Autopilot driving system.

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A lawsuit in Florida claims that Tesla Inc. overstates the safety of its semi-automatic Autopilot driving system.

The complaint, filed by Tesla Model S driver Shawn Hudson of Winter Garden, claims the system poses an “inordinately high risk of high-speed collisions.” The Autopilot system can steer, brake and accelerate Tesla’s electric vehicles automatically under certain conditions. But the system requires the constant attention of the driver.

Hudson tells Wired he relied on the system for the past year to ease his daily highway commute to a job 125 miles away. But earlier this month his car, operating at 80 mph in Autopilot mode, crashed into a disabled and empty car sitting in the left lane of the Florida Turnpike (photo).

The lawsuit follows several reports of Tesla vehicles crashing into parked vehicles or highway barriers while under Autopilot control. Tesla’s owner’s manuals caution that the system’s cruise control can’t detect all objects and may not brake for stationary vehicles, especially at speeds above 50 mph.

Last weekend Tesla began rolling out an updated version of the Autopilot system that can automatically change lanes to move around slower vehicles.