Tesla wins lawsuit that blamed Autopilot for crash
Tesla has won a lawsuit that tried to blame the company’s Autopilot driver assist software for a 2019 crash, Reuters reports. The jurors in the case found that the software wasn’t at fault in a crash where the car turned into a median on a city street while Autopilot was engaged. The jury awarded plaintiff Justine Hsu, who sued Tesla in 2020, no damages.
The trial is believed to be the first regarding Autopilot, and could prove to be an important case if Tesla faces future lawsuits over the technology. While Reuters reports that the result of the trial “is not legally binding in other cases,” Tesla is under intense scrutiny for its Autopilot and its Full Self-Driving driver assistance features, which don’t make its cars fully autonomous and still require the driver to be engaged.
Last year, for example, it came to light that the company’s self-driving claims are reportedly under criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice. In 2021, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a probe regarding Autopilot following many crashes with parked emergency vehicles. And California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has accused Tesla of making false claims about its Autopilot and recently more expensive Full Self-Driving (FSD) capabilities.
Despite the scrutiny, Tesla has continued to push forward on its development of driver assistance technologies, making the FSD beta available to anyone in the US who has purchased the feature in November. However, Tesla issued a recall for nearly 363,000 vehicles with FSD after the NHTSA deemed the technology a “crash risk,” and the company plans to ship an over-the-air software update to address specific issues.