Tesla CEO Elon Musk to Testify on Autopilot System in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Tesla CEO Elon Musk may be required to testify under oath in a wrongful death lawsuit that alleges the company’s advanced driver assistance system, Autopilot, caused a fatal crash in 2018. The tentative ruling was issued by a California judge on Wednesday, following a lawsuit filed by the family of Walter Huang, an Apple engineer killed in the crash.

The family’s lawyers seek to question Musk about recorded statements he made regarding the capabilities of Autopilot. They argue that Huang over-relied on the partially automated driving software, which failed him in the end. Tesla, on the other hand, claims that Huang was not paying attention to vehicle warnings and was playing a video game on his phone before the crash.

Musk tweeted a promotional video for Autopilot in 2016, claiming that Tesla “drives itself” with “no human input at all.” In January, Ashok Elluswamy, director of Autopilot software at Tesla, testified that the video was staged using 3D mapping on a predetermined route, rather than relying on cameras, sensors, and onboard computing power to actually drive autonomously.

Reuters reports that Musk will likely be questioned about a 2016 statement, in which he allegedly said that a Model S and Model X can “drive autonomously with greater safety than a person. Right now.” Tesla’s lawyers have opposed the request, arguing that Musk can’t recall the details of statements plaintiffs want to question him on and that he is often the subject of “deepfake” videos.

The lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial on July 31 and adds to the growing list of litigation and regulatory scrutiny into the automaker for its Autopilot system. Tesla faces a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, and there are concerns about the safety of the company’s partially automated driving software.

In a recent case, a Tesla owner sued the company, claiming that her Model S swerved into a curb while on Autopilot, causing the airbag to deploy so violently that it caused medical damage. However, a jury in Los Angeles Superior Court ruled that the Autopilot feature did not fail.

Overall, the legal challenges facing Tesla raise concerns about the safety and reliability of the company’s Autopilot system. The outcome of this lawsuit could have significant implications for the future of autonomous driving technology.

Mohmed Abdelaziz

A journalist and reviewer with extensive experience in programming and social media, he has a strong CV in the field of technology. You can contact him via e-mail: [email protected]


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