TECHNOLOGY

Tesla ordered to refund customer via autopilot

Germany court orders Tesla to refund customer thousands of dollars over Autopilot driver assistance system issues

Tesla is suffering what could be a significant legal setback in Germany after a Munich court orders it to refund a customer over issues with the Autopilot system.

Reutersciting of the mirrorreported a customer in Germany who paid $112,000 ($114,000) for a Model X SUV in December 2016, but complained of “issues” with the Autopilot feature.

On top of the purchase cost, she paid 5,500 euros ($5,580) extra for the Autopilot feature, and the SUV was delivered to her in March 2017.

Image Credit: Tesla

Autopilot fine

But apparently there were repeated problems with Autopilot, and the court upheld the woman’s complaint that the car’s Autopilot was defective.

The Munich court ordered Tesla to refund the customer $101,000 after a technical report found that the vehicle failed to reliably recognize obstacles and sometimes applied the brakes unnecessarily.

This could cause a “great danger” in city traffic and lead to collisions, the court ruled.

Der Spiegel reported that the Tesla lawyers had claimed that Autopilot was not designed for city traffic.

But the court said it was not feasible for drivers to manually turn the feature on and off in different settings, as it would distract from driving.

Tesla was not immediately available for comment and declined to comment to Der Spiegel.

The verdict also perpetuated the woman’s other complaints about the car, such as the doors not opening and closing properly.

This is the second bad news for Tesla’s Autopilot in recent days, after Andrej Karpathy, Tesla’s director of AI and the leader of the Autopilot Vision team, announced last week that he had resigned from the company.

Karpathy had led a team of senior machine learning scientists and engineers, all of whom reported directly to Karpathy.

federal investigation

The German lawsuit sets a worrying precedent for Tesla, which is under close scrutiny by regulatory authorities over its Autopilot feature in the US.

Last month, the US Federal Vehicle Safety Authority (NHTSA) said it was upgrading its investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system — the step taken before the agency issues a recall.

Musk has aggressively hyped Tesla’s driver assistance system (Autopilot) and self-driving technology (FSB) for years.

In July 2020, Elon Musk said Tesla was “very close” to achieving level 5 autonomous driving technology.

Level 5 is the holy grail of autonomous driving technology as level 5 vehicles require no human intervention and the need for human drivers has been eliminated.

It is even said that level 5 cars don’t even have steering wheels or accelerator/brake pedals.

These cars will be free of geofencing and can drive anywhere and do everything a normal car can do to a human driver.

Tesla cars currently operate at level two, which requires the driver to remain alert and ready to steer, with hands on the wheel.

Musk said in March that Tesla is likely to launch a test version of its new “Full Self-Driving” software in Europe later this year, pending regulatory approval.

“It’s quite difficult to be fully self-driving in Europe,” he told Reuters to workers at the Berlin factory at the time, telling Reuters that a lot of work needs to be done to tackle tricky driving situations in Europe, where roads vary by country. differ. .

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