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Autonomous Vehicles

Published on April 12th, 2018 | by James Ayre

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Family Of Man Killed In Tesla Model X Autopilot Crash Lawyers Up

April 12th, 2018 by  


We’ve reported a fair amount in recent weeks on the fatal auto accident in California whereby someone driving a Tesla Model X, and apparently using the “Autopilot” system (advanced cruise control), hit a concrete median that was missing its steel safety guard and was killed in the crash.

It seems that the family of that man has now hired lawyers. The law firm Minami Tamaki LLP has confirmed this news to various news outlets.

The law firm in question is apparently blaming the man’s death on Tesla’s Autopilot system and arguing that the system was defective (citing navigation system complaints by some other users).

“(Our) preliminary review indicates that the navigation system of the Tesla may have misread the lane lines on the roadway, failed to detect the concrete median, failed to brake the car, and drove the car into the median,” Minami stated (as quoted by Reuters).

The coverage from Reuters continues: “Tesla later said the car had activated Autopilot, raising new questions about the semi-autonomous system that handles some driving tasks. The company said vehicle logs from the accident showed no action had been taken by (the driver) before the crash and that he had received warnings to put his hands on the wheel.”

As a reminder here, Tesla’s Autopilot system is only intended to be used by those closely watching the road, and activating the system requires an acknowledgment of this reality. Some users of course abuse the system and use it in such a way as to endanger themselves and other drivers. That being the case, perhaps the name “Autopilot” wasn’t a responsible choice?

Whatever one’s opinion on that matter is, though, the crash in question happened on a day and at a time when visibility was very good, and the driver/owner seems to have done nothing to stop his car from driving straight into a concrete wall (and to his unfortunate death) despite there being plenty of time to apply the brakes. As the brakes were never applied at all, one has to really wonder about what was going through his head? Trying to prove a point? There are other possibilities as well of course. Perhaps he wasn’t paying attention to the road at all.

As a reminder here, as I understand it, most emergency automatic braking systems aren’t calibrated so as to avoid stationary objects (such as the concrete median) — owing to the problems that arise from doing so (particularly, far too many “false flag” events and unnecessary, repetitive, annoying braking). So, those wondering why the brakes weren’t automatically applied have an answer there — unless I’m mistaken on the matter.


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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.



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