Tesla Settled a Unique Autopilot-Related Crash Case Before it Could Reach Court


tesla settled a unique autopilot related crash case before it could reach court

Tesla has been involved in multiple court cases alleging that its Autopilot system was responsible for sometimes-deadly crashes, but it recently settled a similar case before it could reach the courtroom. Even with its track record of success, the automaker’s attorneys settled with Walter Huang’s family’s legal team, which could be related to the unique angle it took in approaching the case.

Huang, an Apple engineer, died when his Tesla Model X crashed while using Autopilot. While the investigation revealed that Autopilot was in use at the time of the crash, Huang was also using his phone and not paying attention when it happened. Rather than argue the traditional route employed in the other cases, which focused blame on the technology, the Huang family’s attorneys argued that Tesla knew of Autopilot’s shortcomings and irresponsibly touted its capabilities anyway.

Discovery and testimony from Tesla engineers revealed that the company did little to investigate its driver monitoring features. The attorneys also noted that Tesla was aware that drivers were abusing the system.

Huang’s case is one of many high-profile examples of things going sideways when drivers become over-confident in their vehicle’s autonomous capabilities. The approach taken by his family’s lawyers is interesting because it highlights an issue many have been shouting about for years – that the language and marketing around Autopilot and Tesla’s Full Self-Driving tech make them sound more robust than they are. The automaker recently changed some of its wording around FSD on its vehicle ordering pages, but the name itself makes a strong case for overpromising and under-delivering when it comes to autonomous driving features.

[Image: Flystock via Shutterstock]

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