As technology advances, we often find ourselves expecting to do less and less when it comes to everyday tasks. Trash bins can open for us, cell phones now have fingerprint recognition to pay for things, and lights can even be turned on via voice command.
While these shortcuts can be nice, saving time and energy, there can be a price to pay while the initial kinks are worked out. Unfortunately, for several drivers using Tesla’s Autopilot feature, that price was paid with their lives.
Tesla, like many other car companies, is looking for the next best technological advancement that can help to put itself ahead of the rest. Autopilot, the car maker’s driver-assistance system, was created to advance its vehicles from even having to be entirely human-operated.
However, due to what a consumer advocacy group termed “flaws” in the software, the system may gravely affect drivers’ safety.
Autopilot Behind Fatal Accident
This proved to be true for the several drivers who lost their lives. One was driving a 2017 Model X, using its Autopilot, when his vehicle crashed into a highway barrier, erupting into flames.
According to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report, the vehicle had actually sped up from 62 mph to 71 mph within the three seconds prior to the crash. Tesla’s owner’s manual warns drivers that its Autopilot system may not detect stationary objects when moving at higher speeds.
The report stated that prior to the crash, the driver’s hands were on the wheel for a total of 34 seconds three separate times in the last minute before the car accident, though they were not detected on the wheel in the final six seconds.
Drivers Try to Beat the System’s Safety Features
According to Tesla, drivers are supposed to keep their hands on the wheel at all times when using Autopilot. However, there is nothing that seems to ensure that other work-arounds are not being implemented.
In fact, “Autopilot Buddy,” one such device that tricks the system into believing that the driver’s hands are on the wheel, has been sold as a workaround. It attaches to the car’s steering wheel and tricks the system into thinking that the driver’s hands are still in place.
Without a driver’s hands detected on the wheel, the display behind it will start to flash and give audible and visual warnings before the system will disable itself.
Unsurprisingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued the manufacturer a cease and desist order.
When a product such as Tesla’s Autopilot may be defective and cause injuries, this could lead to a products liability lawsuit.
Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Those Injured by Tesla’s Autopilot System
If an unfit product such as Tesla’s Autopilot system has injured you or a loved one, it can have a severe and sometimes even irreparable effect on your life. Someone must be held accountable for your damages. The Philadelphia products liability lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC will fight for your rights. For a free consultation contact us online or call us at 215-569-8488 today. From our offices are in Philadelphia, we represent clients in Delaware County, Chester County, throughout Pennsylvania, as well as across Delaware and New Jersey.