According to a Tesla engineer, the decision to brand Tesla’s suite of automated driving functions as “Full Self-Driving” was not an attempt to exaggerate the system’s functionality.
Tesla’s Autopilot system is currently under scrutiny due to an ongoing trial in the United States. The trial stems from a lawsuit alleging that the Autopilot system caused a Model 3 driver to veer off a highway and collide with a tree. The accident resulted in the driver’s death and caused serious injuries to two passengers.
The lawsuit claims that Tesla knowingly sold vehicles with defective Autopilot and Full Self-Driving systems. In 2019, the owner, Micah Lee (who died in the accident), paid $6,000 for the Full Self-Driving package. At the time, Full Self-Driving was capable of keeping the car within its lane while maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.
While testifying last week, Tesla engineer Eloy Rubio Blanco repudiated the allegations that the name “Full Self-Driving” was chosen to deceive the public. Blanco stated that Tesla drivers did not believe that their vehicles were autonomous.
According to Carscoops, Tesla had initially requested to keep Blanco’s testimony confidential due to concerns about trade secrets. Although the judge denied this request, he did order to mute the court’s live audio feed during Blanco’s statements.
Blanco admitted that Tesla vehicles sold in 2019 might have “latent defects” due to the complexity of their software. He also acknowledged that the driver-assistance system had certain limitations and could potentially misidentify objects.
Furthermore, Blanco conceded that the automatic braking functionality might not be sufficient to avoid collisions.
The case is being heard in California’s Riverside County Superior Court.
Tesla is also running into trouble with government regulators. The California attorney general’s office launched an investigation into Autopilot marketing in late July.
Image Source: Teslaconomics, https://shorturl.at/bEV19