Tesla trades after a collective complaint against Autopilot


by Tina Bellon

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has signed an agreement to put an end to a complaint partnership filed by owners of automobiles who accuse the system of automatic piloting of the american group to be “globally unusable and clearly dangerous.”

The agreement, announced Thursday evening in a notice to the federal court of San Jose, has yet to be approved by the district judge.

Steve Berman, a lawyer for the owners of automobiles, has not responded in the immediate future to a request for comment.

The system Autopilot Tesla, launched in 2015, is a technology based driving aid that allows drivers to steer their car while keeping their trajectory and ensure a autopilot in certain situations. But it is not designed to totally replace the driver, who must remain master of his vehicle.

It is maligned by its detractors who accuse it of being the source of various accidents.

In a press release, Tesla stated to be willing to give a gesture to its customers, and in the context of the proposed agreement, has agreed to indemnify the owners of vehicles who have purchased the version 2.0 of the Autopilot and have had to be patient longer than expected for that functions of driving assistance is enabled.

“Since the deployment in October of 2016, our second-generation Autopilot at the hardware level, we have continued to provide software updates that have resulted in a major improvement of features of Autopilot”, says the manufacturer, adding that this agreement would be for customers in the world.

The drivers concerned will receive between $ 20 and $ 280 in compensation. Tesla has provided more than five million dollars to cover this litigation.

The complaint filed in the federal court in San Jose for six owners of Tesla Model S and Model X who accuse the manufacturer of electric cars to have committed fraud by concealment, and breach of various laws on the protection of consumers and unfair competition.

These motorists say they have paid a fee of $ 5,000 (4.287 euros) to equip their car software Autopilot on the promise of enhanced security, but which proved to in fact “totally unusable,” according to the complaint.

According to the complainants, the functions such as automatic braking emergency, the alarm in the event of a side impact collision and the road lights automatic do not work or are not reliable.

They feel that the system is dangerous to use because the vehicle brakes unexpectedly for no reason, and on the other hand remains passive in the approach of large vehicles.

The us agency for road safety (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA) has opened an investigation after a fatal accident that occurred in may 2016 in Florida involving a model Tesla with Autopilot. She said this month that it had not yet assessed the effectiveness of this technology, which, according to Tesla can save up to 40% of the accidents.

The company is the subject of increased attention of the NHTSA since the death of two drivers of cars Tesla in recent months in an accident in link with Autopilot.

(Claude Chendjou for the French service, edited by Juliette Rouillon)

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