Are Modern Vehicle Features Placing Drivers in Danger?
Critics of Tesla’s Autopilot software have filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court. According to a news report in The Washington Post, owners said they paid money for groundbreaking software that has not arrived on the promised schedule and that parts of the software that have rolled out are not ready for primetime.
Autopilot Not Road-Ready
The lawsuit focuses on Tesla vehicles that were purchased with Autopilot 2 hardware, which became available to consumers in October 2016. The hardware will offer more features than Autopilot 1 did including something close to fully autonomous driving by the middle of the year. However, the software updates that utilize Tesla’s new hardware have been slow in coming. Also, the lawsuit alleges that the handful of offerings that have become available on vehicles with Autopilot 2 are sub-standard including the “dangerously defective Traffic Aware Cruise Control.”
Consumers Become Beta Testers
The auto defect lawyers at Bisnar Chase believe that Tesla did not do its due diligence in terms of testing before they put this groundbreaking technology on our roadways. This lawsuit conveys a similar belief and sentiment. It accuses Tesla of delivering software that causes vehicles to behave erratically.
“Contrary to what Tesla represented to them, buyers of affected vehicles have become beta testers of half-baked software that renders Tesla vehicles dangerous if engaged,” the lawsuit states. It also claims that Tesla deceived consumers into shelling out thousands of dollars for features that are still nowhere to be found. Plaintiffs are seeking buyback of the affected vehicles including a full refund for the software the class members purchased. Tesla has called the lawsuit “disingenuous, inaccurate and sensationalistic.”
Holding Automakers Accountable
Class action lawsuits provide a means for consumers who believe they are wronged by large corporations to seek legal recourse. When consumers suffer injuries or lose a loved one in a tragic car accident, they have the option of filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
However, when a consumer buys a product that does not deliver on its promise, a class action lawsuit where a number of people who have had a similar experience with the product band together, is a viable option. This is especially true when the average person must butt heads with a large corporation like Tesla that has a high-powered legal defense team at its beck and call.
Instead of dismissing consumers’ genuine concerns, Tesla would be well advised to take those concerns seriously and work toward delivering a safer vehicle. Autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles should not be put on our roadways without diligent testing.