Tesla: Not guilty of fatal accident with autopilot

Tesla’s assistance systems have come under fire many times. The most serious charge even relates to a fatal accident because of it Autopilot.

After many lawsuits, the time has come for her first vindication American car industry. Let’s take things from the beginning. In 2019, two passengers in a car accident accused the company of selling Tesla Model 3knowing that the autopilot system was faulty.

A car on a freeway in Los Angeles suddenly veered off course at 105 km/h into a tree where it burst into flames, killing the driver and injuring two other passengers, including an eight-year-old boy.

The injured sought 400 million euros in compensation, with Tesla denying any liability pointing to human error behind the accident. In particular, the company claimed that the driver had consumed a large amount of alcohol before getting behind the wheel. In addition, he does not know whether the autopilot was active at the time of the accident.

Despite many complaints about its assistance systems, Tesla does not currently appear to be facing any legal consequences


12 jurors announced that the car had no manufacturing defect by a 9-3 vote, making the incident not responsible manufacturing company.

Tesla is also testing and developing the Autopilot system and the more advanced Full Autonomous Driving (FSD) system, which itself Elon Musk characterized as essential for the future of his company. The system in question has attracted a number of legal and regulatory controls.

In April, Tesla was sued in another case involving the Tesla Model S. In this case, the Model S skidded onto a sidewalk, injuring its driver.

The automaker defended itself by informing all drivers that, despite the names Autopilot and Full Self-Driving systems, they need human supervision.

Tesla Model 3

The jurors in this case were also convinced by the arguments that Tesla used in its justification.
However, according to Cardozo University Law School Associate Professor Matthew Wansley, a specific lawsuit (relating to an accident) presents some specifics.

“In other cases, plaintiffs have argued that Autopilot is problematic by design and leads to driver abuse. However, in the Riverside trial, the jury was asked to consider only whether there was a manufacturing defect that affected the steering system. If I were a juror, it would confuse me.’remarked the professor.

In the Riverside trial, the plaintiffs showed jurors an internal safety analysis prepared by Tesla in 2017 that identified as a flaw “incorrect direction command” which resulted in “excessive” turning of the steering wheel.

Tesla responded that the analysis did not actually identify a defect, but merely helped the company identify a problem that could potentially occur in the car. After the crash, the company created a system to prevent Autopilot from taking turns like the one that led to the crash.

Tesla Model S

On the witness stand, Tesla engineer Eloy Rubio Blanco rejected claims that the company chose the name Full Self-Driving to give the impression that its system is more capable than it actually is.

The engineer does not believe that drivers of models that carry these safety systems will accept the idea that they are driving fully autonomous cars.

Despite the many incidents and investigations, Guidehouse analyst Sam Abuelsamid believes Tesla is unlikely to lose any of the cases.

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