Tesla Wins California Autopilot Crash Case
Tesla picked up a victory on Friday after a California jury determined the automaker was not at fault for a 2019 accident involving its advanced driver assistance system, known as Autopilot.
The jury awarded no damages to Los Angeles resident Justine Hsu, who sued Tesla in 2020 for negligence, fraud and breach of contract. This appears to be the first case involving Autopilot to go to trial. Reuters was the first to report the verdict.
Hsu said in her lawsuit that the Tesla Model S she was driving engaged on autopilot when it turned and hit a median on a city street. Deployed airbags fractured his jaw and caused nerve damage, according to the lawsuit.
The jury determined that Tesla was not to blame and that the airbag deployed as it should. The court filing also said that Tesla correctly warned users not to use the system while driving on city streets, which Hsu did.
The court ruling offers a victory for Tesla as it faces increased scrutiny from federal and state regulators over Autopilot as well as upgraded versions of the system called Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving software.
Tesla vehicles come standard with a driver assistance system called Autopilot. For a $6,000 upgrade, owners can purchase the enhanced Autopilot, which includes several other features.
For an additional $15,000, owners can purchase “Fully Self-Driving” or FSD – a feature that CEO Elon Musk has been promising for years will one day deliver fully self-driving capabilities. Tesla vehicles are not self-driving.
Instead, the FSD includes a number of automated driving functions that always require the driver to be ready to take control at all times. It includes the Summon parking feature, as well as Navigate on Autopilot, an active guidance system that guides a car from an on-ramp to an off-ramp, including interchanges and lane changes. The system is also supposed to manage direction on city streets and recognize and react to traffic lights and stop signs.
In February, Tesla halted the rollout of its Full Self-Driving beta software in the United States and Canada following a recall of the system that federal safety officials say could allow vehicles to act in ways dangerous at intersections and cause accidents.
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