Autonomous and semi-autonomous cars are the future – at least, so says technology giant Tesla, which has dedicated vast resources towards the development of scalable, self-driving automobiles. Because traditional cars with human drivers are already causing an average of 37,000 car accident deaths each year, it seems like a positive change to put our fates in the hands of carefully-calibrated machines instead.
Of course, these automated machines and systems are still very new, and they’re only as good as the human programmers and car manufacturers who design them. In March 2019, public safety experts sounded new alarms about the much-lauded Tesla Autopilot system, after it was involved in a fatal car crash in Florida. Citing an eerily similar case in Gainesville three years ago, the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have launched an official investigation into the safety of the Autopilot system.
What Went Wrong with Tesla’s Autopilot System?
According to reports, driver Jeremy Beren Banner was operating a Tesla Model 3 car in Delray Beach, when he collided with a semitrailer truck at over 68 miles per hour. System logs indicated that the semi-autonomous Autopilot system took over for Banner only 10 seconds before the crash, and that he had taken his hands off the steering wheel once it was activated.
Experts immediately noticed the similarities between this case and a previous crash in 2016, which claimed the life of driver Joshua Brown in Gainesville. The National Transportation Safety Board also opened a separate investigation into a related crash last year, after a driver in Santa Clara County, California was also killed in a Tesla Model X.
Although all these investigations are still underway, experts have noted that the Autopilot system seems to have continual problems with its vehicle detection and course correction capabilities. As the acting head of the NHTSA shared in one article, “Their [Autopilot] system cannot literally see the broad side of an 18-wheeler on the highway.” This possible auto defect – when combined with a system that has often lagged in alerting drivers to impending hazards – may have been behind the March crash, as well as the previous two instances of Autopilot failure.
Dedicated Representation for Complex Car Accidents
Time will only tell if Tesla will continue to fix the Autopilot system or be forced to recall their Autopilot-based car models as crash fatalities spike. Whether your car accident involved a Tesla vehicle or not, however, our team of experienced product liability lawyers can help you pursue the fair compensation you deserve after an accident. Skilled at getting to the bottom of each crash, we’ve won over $1 billion in damages for our clients over the years, and we have been in the forefront of getting significant results for clients in highly complex car accidents.
For more information about our legal services, contact McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP today at (909) 345-8110.