Court Rules Tesla Autopilot a 'Massive Hazard', Must Reimburse Owner Cost of Car


Tesla’s driver-assistance system has run into problems in Germany after a court in Munich deemed the system a “massive danger.”

The court also sentenced Tesla to reimburse the plaintiff the purchase price of the Model X SUV, which is about 112,000 euros ($113,028), Spiegel Mobility reported.

City centers and rear-end collisions were the greatest problems with the autopilot system.

Tesla’s lawyers argued that the autopilot was not meant for city traffic. But the court did not accept that argument.

The plaintiff’s side argued that if users had to turn autopilot on and off for city traffic, that could distract the driver.

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“Once again it shows that Tesla does not keep the full-bodied promises when it comes to autopilot,” said plaintiff attorney Christoph Lindner.

The problems with Tesla’s autopilot system are not isolated to this case.

In June, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began looking more closely into at least 16 incidents that involved the autopilot system, Fortune reported.

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“The National Transportation Safety Board, which also has investigated some of the Tesla crashes dating to 2016, has recommended that NHTSA and Tesla limit Autopilot’s use to areas where it can safely operate,” Fortune reported.

These problems with the autopilot system also come in the midst of bigger issues that Tesla has been encountering.

On July 13, Andrej Karpathy, who supervised Tesla’s artificial intelligence efforts and the computer vision behind Autopilot, announced he was leaving, the Financial Times reported.

Karpathy’s departure followed Tesla’s decision to close its office in San Mateo, California, at the end of June, Reuters reported.

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The company laid off roughly 200 employees that were working on its autopilot system there.

Some said this was part of Tesla’s effort to cut costs.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been open about his doubts concerning the economy and reportedly told some of his managers that he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy.

“Tesla clearly is in a major cost-cutting mode,” said Raj Rajkumar, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, according to Reuters. “This (staff reduction) likely indicates that 2Q 2022 has been pretty rough on the company due to the shutdown in Shanghai, raw material costs and supply chain problems.”

But despite the financial problems and issues with the autopilot system, Musk told the Financial Times earlier in the year that Tesla might be getting quite close to achieving safe self-driving.

“I could be wrong but I think we are actually quite close to achieving self-driving at a safety level that is better than human,” Musk said. ”[W]e’re really not far from it.”

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