Tesla Ready to Settle Claims Over Autopilot Troubles

Ivan Schwartz
May 26, 2018

A Tesla Model S that crashed into a fire-department vehicle in South Jordan, Utah, while operating on Autopilot earlier this month accelerated for three to five seconds before the crash, according to data from the vehicle cited by the Associated Press on Thursday evening.

The police report, which was obtained Thursday through an open records request, provides detail about the vehicle's actions immediately before the May 11 crash and the driver's familiarity with its system. They say the leading vehicle then likely changed lanes and the Tesla automatically sped up to its preset speed of 60 miles per hour without noticing the stopped cars ahead.

Tesla has not yet commented on the latest AP report.

The vehicle's 29-year-old driver had told police she was on her phone prior to the crash - which resulted in her breaking a foot - and thought the Tesla's automatic emergency braking system would stop before the auto hit anything. She told police she was looking at her phone and comparing different routes to a destination.

Meanwhile Tesla CEO Elon Musk continues to complain about news coverage of vehicle crashes that may have been caused by the Autopilot system.

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Tesla has said it repeatedly warns drivers to stay alert, keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of their vehicle at all times while using the Autopilot system.

Electric automaker Tesla says it has reached a settlement with buyers of its Model S and Model X cars who claimed the vehicles' autopilot function was unsafe and unusable. Yet, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has employed an investigation team to Utah for investigating the case.

The company has come under increased scrutiny over its Autopilot system in recent months after two Tesla drivers died in crashes in which Autopilot was engaged. We want to do right by those customers, so as part of a proposed settlement agreement for a class action lawsuit filed previous year, we've agreed to compensate customers who purchased Autopilot on Hardware 2 vehicles who had to wait longer than we expected for these features.

Tesla says it has updated the autopilot hardware since unveiling it in 2016, but acknowledged the features have taken longer to gain traction. The south Jorden police said that it was noticed for many times that her hands were off from steering. In that incident, the driver, Walter Huang, was killed when his Model X crashed into a barrier between Highway 101 and Highway 85, in Mountain View.

The Center for Auto Safety and Consumer Watchdog are calling on the Federal Trade Commission "to investigate dangerously misleading and deceptive advertising and marketing practices and representations made by Tesla Motors Inc. regarding the safety and capabilities of its Autopilot feature". However, the agency said that the regulators have not yet assessed its effectiveness.

Other reports by GizPress

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