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Tesla Facing Lawsuit After Autopilot Program Blamed for Car Crash

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Self-driving cars have been heralded as the future of transportation. However, numerous car accidents involving self-driving cars and programs continue to remind us that we are not there, quite yet. The most recent comes out of China, where a fatal crash involving Tesla’s Autopilot has led to a lawsuit being filed.

Tesla’s Autopilot Likely Resulted in Fatal Accident

Last January, a 23-year-old was driving his Tesla Model S sedan in the province of Hebei, in northeastern China when he rammed into the back of a street cleaning vehicle at full speed. Videos of the accident show that his car did not brake or turn to avoid the accident. The crash killed the man, and his father is filing suit against Tesla and the dealership that sold the vehicle for wrongful death.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that the vehicle was in autopilot mode when the accident occurred, that it failed to take adverse road conditions into account, and that this was what caused the accident. Tesla, however, has responded that the extent of the accident has made it impossible to tell whether the autopilot system was active at the time of the crash, claiming that the damage was enough to make the car “physically incapable of transmitting log data to our servers.”

Tesla’s Autopilot Program a Precursor to Self-Driving Cars

The autopilot program at issue in the Tesla vehicle involved in the crash in China is often seen as a precursor to self-driving cars. The program is able to direct the vehicle through basic maneuvers without the driver, like maintaining and changing lanes, as well as braking for obstacles in the near distance. The program, however, is not able to guide the car through advanced situations. This means that the driver needs to stay vigilant and keep his or her hands on the steering wheel in order to take control quickly.

Have You Been Injured in an Accident?

Self-driving cars do not seem to be very far off. Unfortunately, we are still at the point where the self-driving solutions provided by companies like Google and Tesla only do half of the driving, requiring the driver to stay vigilant behind the wheel and intervene in numerous situations that the car does not know how to handle. This halfway point to an autonomous vehicle is likely even more dangerous than a completely human driver or a completely automated system could ever be: The automated aspect can lull a driver into a sense of safety that they are unable to snap out of quickly enough to avoid a serious accident.

This is where the skilled Biloxi personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy Guice come in. Contact us online if you have been involved in a car accident and want to explore your legal options.

Resource:

nytimes.com/2016/09/15/business/fatal-tesla-crash-in-china-involved-autopilot-government-tv-says.html

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