Tesla Sued Over ‘Dangerously Defective’ Autopilot Software

  • Suit alleges safety features are inoperable on 47,000 vehicles
  • Consumers seek damages and buybacks for 2016-17 S and X models

Tesla Inc. was sued by vehicle owners over claims its Autopilot feature is “dangerously defective” when engaged.

The case was filed as a class-action on behalf of owners of 47,000 Model S and Model X cars sold in 2016 and 2017.

Tesla Inc. is facing its first legal challenge over self-driving technology in a case alleging the electric carmaker sold 47,000 vehicles with Autopilot software that’s “dangerously defective” when engaged.

Drivers have “become beta testers of half-baked software that renders Tesla vehicles dangerous,” according to a complaint filed Wednesday in San Jose, California, federal court. Consumers allege their cars — purchased for $81,000 to $113,000 — sometimes veer out of lanes, “lurching, slamming on the brakes for no reason, and failing to slow or stop when approaching other vehicles” when Autopilot is activated.

Tesla says it’s never claimed its vehicles are armed with “full self-driving capability.”
“This lawsuit is a disingenuous attempt to secure attorney’s fees posing as a legitimate legal action, which is evidenced by the fact that the suit misrepresents many facts,” the company said in a statement. “The inaccurate and sensationalistic view of our technology put forth by this group is exactly the kind of misinformation that threatens to harm consumer safety.”

Road Conditions

All Tesla cars produced since October 2014 have Autopilot hardware, which has allowed the company to collect more than 1.3 billion miles of data from Autopilot-equipped vehicles operating under diverse road and weather conditions. The company constantly improves the features via over-the-air software updates that are automatically rolled out to customers.
Tesla’s Autopilot technology came under fire last year when a 40-year-old Ohio man was killed after his 2015 Model S drove under the trailer of an 18-wheeler on a Florida highway.

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Source: Bloomberg