Consumer safety groups are accusing Tesla of deceptively marketing the Autopilot feature used in many of its vehicles. The Center for Auto Safety and Consumer Watchdog say that consumers could be misled into believing that Autopilot is a “true” self-driving feature. As a result, Tesla owners may inadvertently jeopardize their own safety by relying too heavily on the feature.
Both nonprofit groups sent a letter with their grievances to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). According to the letter, Tesla is the only auto manufacturer that markets its Level 2 vehicles as “self-driving”. Previous comments made by the automaker suggested that Tesla vehicles come equipped with “full self-driving hardware”.
There are six levels for self-driving systems (or a lack thereof). Level 0 implies that a vehicle contains no driver-assistance technologies. On the other hand, a Level 5 vehicle is fully autonomous and is claimed to perform as well as a human under all driving scenarios. Level 2 vehicles have driving assistance systems that aid with steering, braking and accelerating. However, drivers must be ready to take control of the vehicle at any time.
Autopilot, which is linked to several recent crashes, is an advanced cruise control feature that allows some Tesla vehicles to operate semi-autonomously. The feature can assist with changing lanes, adjusting following distance and braking. As with other Level 2 vehicles, Tesla owners may still need to take control to avoid accidents or obstacles.
Other Reasons Why Autopilot’s Safety Is Being Called into Question
We covered a recent crash involving Autopilot on last month’s blog. In March, a Tesla Model X with Autopilot activated crashed into a highway divider on Highway 101, killing the driver. According to the driver’s family, he had complained before the accident that Autopilot kept trying to steer him into the lane divider. The driver’s family recently filed a lawsuit against Tesla.
After the Highway 101 accident, other Tesla owners recorded videos of Autopilot making unexpected lane changes or swerves. One of these videos shows a Tesla vehicle swerving towards the lane divider where the Highway 101 accident occurred.
Compensation for Auto Defect Lawsuits
The Bay Area product liability attorneys at Bohn & Fletcher can help you determine whether it would be possible to seek compensation for an auto defect injury or death. You can read more about our success with product liability lawsuits by continuing to explore our website. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call (408) 556-9780 or use our online case review form.