According to Reuters, Tesla received a decisive victory in a car crash trial in a California state court on Friday. The jury determined that the Autopilot feature did not malfunction. This legal victory comes after Tesla faced legal scrutiny due to a lawsuit filed in 2020 by Justine Hsu of Los Angeles. Hsu claimed that while her Tesla Model S was on Autopilot, it swerved into a curb causing the airbag to deploy, resulting in a fractured jaw, teeth loss, and nerve damage to her face.
She demanded more than $3 million in damages and claimed that the Autopilot and the airbag had design flaws. In a court filing, Tesla claimed that Hsu employed Autopilot on city streets despite a user manual advising against doing so
On Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the jury awarded Hsu no damages. Additionally, it was found that Tesla had not purposefully omitted any crucial information. After the verdict, jurors told Reuters that the partially automated driving software was not a self-piloting system and that the cause of the accident was driver attention.
On Friday, Tesla stock increased 1.3% to settle at $165.08.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has hailed the company’s sophisticated “Full Self-Driving (FSD)” system as essential to its future. Additionally, the company has been testing the Autopilot mode too.
Ed Walters, who teaches at Georgetown Law’s autonomous car course, said, “This case should be a wakeup call to Tesla owners: they can’t over-rely on Autopilot, and they really need to be ready to take control and Tesla is not a self-driving system,” reported Reuters.
Tesla’s Autopilot mode is designed to assist the driver with various driving tasks. It uses a combination of cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors to detect and respond to its environment in the real-time. Autopilot mode can be used on highways and it includes various features. When engaged, Autopilot mode can control the vehicle’s speed, steering, and braking, but it requires the driver to remain attentive and ready to take control at any moment.
It’s important to note that Autopilot mode is not a fully autonomous driving system and should not be relied upon as such. Tesla recommends that drivers keep their attention focused on the road and not become distracted by other activities while using Autopilot mode.
In 2015, Tesla unveiled Autopilot, and in 2016, the first deadly accident was reported in 2016. That matter was never tried in court. Three Tesla engineers testified during the three weeks in the Hsu trial that took place in Los Angeles Superior Court.