Tesla Faces Scrutiny Over Failure to Fix Autopilot Limitations After Fatal Crashes
Updated: Jan 8
Tesla failed to fix key limitations in its Autopilot system following a 2016 Florida crash, engineers said in an ongoing 2019 lawsuit, raising questions about autonomous driving claims.
Tesla made no changes to account for crossing traffic in the 3 years between two deadly accidents involving Autopilot, per testimony.
After touting autonomy, Tesla faces pressure from users, investors, regulators over self-driving hype and safety issues linked to at least 17 deaths. Upcoming jury trial, the first for a death allegedly caused by Autopilot, pits Tesla's safety claims against expected expert testimony on misleading marketing.
CEO Elon Musk excused from questioning but directly involved in Autopilot development per deposition.
Tesla contends it warned of Autopilot limitations, though sued over intersections. Prevailed in earlier non-fatal case.
Family of Jeremy Banner, killed in 2019 when Autopilot missed a truck, amended complaint to seek punitive damages from Tesla.
Argues Tesla should have improved Autopilot after a similar 2016 crash. Tesla said it updated object detection afterwards.
Experts say Tesla allowed "same defect" to kill twice, three years apart, despite warnings from regulators. Trial evidence shows Tesla knew of limitations but misled on capabilities. Raises accountability issues over semi-autonomous driving aids.
Tesla engineers admit in lawsuit the company failed to fix key Autopilot limitations after a fatal 2016 Florida crash, despite facing pressure over autonomous driving claims.
Upcoming trial for a similar 2019 fatal collision involving Autopilot is the first over a death blamed on the technology, with experts expected to challenge Tesla's safety messaging.
Lawsuit alleges Tesla was warned after the first fatality but allowed the "same defect" to kill again in similar circumstances, raising accountability issues for driver aids.