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Tesla Autopilot not responsible for fatal crash, jury says
Posted by: Speedy
Date: October 31, 2023 09:52PM
The verdict is a win for Tesla, which is facing a string of lawsuits involving incidents where its driver-assistance software was allegedly engaged

[wapo.st]

SAN FRANCISCO — A jury found Tesla not liable Tuesday for the role of its Autopilot technology in a 2019 crash in Riverside County, Calif., a significant moment for the company that is facing a string of lawsuits involving incidents where its driver-assistance software was allegedly engaged.

The case concerned the death of 37-year-old Micah Lee, who was allegedly using Autopilot features in his Tesla Model 3 while driving his family down a highway at 65 mph in Southern California. According to court documents, the car suddenly jerked off the road, crashed into a palm tree and burst into flames.

Lee died from injuries suffered in the collision, while his fiancée and her son were severely injured.

<The final 11 seconds in a fatal Tesla Autopilot crash>

Thursday’s verdict came after a month-long trial and several days of deliberation from the jury, which had to decide whether there was a manufacturing defect that caused the car to veer off the road. If Tesla continues to prevail in these Autopilot-related cases, the company could continue deploying the evolving technology with few legal consequences or regulatory guardrails. Multiple verdicts against the company, however, could threaten Tesla’s reputation and its financial viability.

“Though we express disappointment in the verdict, it’s undeniable that a national lens is now focused on this pressing matter,” said Jonathan Michaels, the lawyer for Lee’s estate. “Tesla, despite its stature, was pushed to its limits during the trial. The jury’s prolonged deliberation suggests that the verdict still casts a shadow of uncertainty.”

During the trial, Michaels argued that the car’s technology malfunctioned, causing it to swerve off the roadway and into the palm tree. Court documents also alleged that the company knew its assisted-driving technology and enhanced safety features were defective when it sold the car, and that the company markets its Autopilot features in a way that lulls drivers into a false sense of complacency when using the software.

But Michael Carey, the lawyer for Tesla, argued that the driver is ultimately in control of the vehicle, and they must keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while using the feature. Both Carey and Tesla did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.



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Re: Tesla Autopilot not responsible for fatal crash, jury says
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: November 01, 2023 10:52AM
I believe that the driver had also been drinking prior to the crash.

[fortune.com]
Quote
Fortune
Lawyers representing the crash survivors argued that a manufacturing defect in Autopilot mode caused the car to sharply swerve off the road. The company contended Lee had been drinking alcohol before he got behind the wheel and that there was no evidence he had even activated Autopilot before the collision.



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Re: Tesla Autopilot not responsible for fatal crash, jury says
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: November 01, 2023 04:13PM
Lawyers representing the crash survivors argued that a manufacturing defect in Autopilot mode caused the car to sharply swerve off the road. The company contended Lee had been drinking alcohol before he got behind the wheel and that there was no evidence he had even activated Autopilot before the collision.


Well those are two things that need demonstrable fact, and not just allegation.

In a not liable verdict, I assume the jury didn't find a problem with this, but I'd still like to know the details.

The article makes the above allegations, and also one about the auto-pilot not being able to induces a 43º course change.

Again, I assume lawyers for the plaintiff(s) couldn't dispel any of that, at least not to the jury's satisfaction.

I wonder at what point in that 11s did the turn occur, and if a fully attentive driver could have avoided the tree.

And defense says there's no indication that AP was engaged, not that it was or it wasn't.






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Re: Tesla Autopilot not responsible for fatal crash, jury says
Posted by: kj
Date: November 02, 2023 02:59PM
The fact he’d been drinking kills his case, boom.
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