A California family is suing Tesla, blaming its Autopilot system for the deadly crash that killed their 15-year-old son.
A lawsuit filed last week in Alameda County Superior Court by Benjamin Maldonado Escudero and his wife says that their son was killed in an accident involving a Tesla Model 3, which contains “defects which posed an unreasonable risk of injury or death to consumers.” It seems like an interesting case that raises questions about how the technical choices a driver makes affect the well-being of others on the road.
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Escudero was driving on the Interstate I-880 with his late son Jovani on Aug. 24, 2019, when their car was rear-ended by a Tesla Model 3 while changing lanes. The crash caused their car to flip over and eject Jovani from the seat, resulting in his death.
At least ten people have died in eight accidents involving Autopilot according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the New York Times reported.
What makes things even worse is that the feature can easily be tricked into thinking somebody is in the driver’s seat, as a recent Consumer Reports investigation found.
However, Tesla has not yet responded to NYT comments, and the company’s executive said that misusing Autopilot “could mean the difference between life and death.” Thus, Tesla is not paying much heed to the overall situation and is definitely not ready to take the blame. Moreover, this statement by Tesla implies that accidents happen mainly due to the drivers’ negligence, and all other factors stand secondary.
The feature does not enable Tesla cars actually to drive themselves, which the company has fortunately admitted. However, a recent add-on feature worth $10,000 called Full Self-Driving (FSD), which expands the car’s autonomous driving capabilities, is currently being put through tests by volunteer beta testers.
However, after this unfortunate incident, it would be quite a task to finalize this new cool FSD feature and placing the product out in the market would be a lot more challenging than before.
“Didn’t expect it to be so hard, but the difficulty is obvious in retrospect,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday.