On Wednesday law firm Hagens Berman [corporate website] filed a class action lawsuit [text, PDF] in California’s Northern District Court [official website] against car company Tesla [official website] over the self driving function in their vehicles. The lawsuit alleges that the autopilot function is “essentially unusable and demonstrably dangerous” and places the car users at risk. The new hardware system, AutoPilot2, is alleged to not live up to standard safety features and was rolled out with defects. Tesla responded in a statement [Business Insider report] that the lawsuit misrepresents many different facts. The company stated, “we have never claimed our vehicles already have functional full self-driving capability”. Tesla also says that the autopilot software is being rolled out in a safe fashion and is subject to government regulation.
Driverless vehicles are emerging on the market ever more presently, which opens the new technology to regulation and legal challenges. JURIST Guest Columnist John Terwilleger, of Gunster, discusses the development and regulation [JURIST op-ed] of “driverless” vehicles and how federal and state governments are addressing this emerging technology. The introduction of these technologies continue to be under immense scrutiny, especially when there is an accident involving one of these vehicles. Tesla has already had a challenge after one of its vehicles was in an accident that led to a death. An investigation [NYT report] into the matter found that there was no defect in the auto-pilot system in the vehicle and that they did not to be recalled.