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Man Sues Tesla, Says Autopilot Led to Crash

He says the feature failed to detect a disabled car before collision
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 30, 2018 6:48 PM CDT
Shawn Hudson stands in his lawyers office after filing a lawsuit against Tesla on Tuesday, Oct. 30 in Orlando, Fla. The lawsuit says the autopilot feature of his Tesla Model S failed to detect a disabled...   (AP Photo/Michael Schneider)

(Newser) – A Florida man says the autopilot feature of his Tesla vehicle failed to detect a disabled car on a highway, leading to a collision that left him with permanent injuries, according to a negligence lawsuit filed Tuesday. Shawn Hudson said in the lawsuit filed in state court in Orlando, Florida, that Tesla made false statements about the autopilot safety on his Tesla Model S. It's the second such lawsuit in as many months, the AP reports. A Utah driver filed a similar complaint last month. Hudson and his attorney said at a news conference that Tesla lulls drivers into a false-sense of security that the cars can drive themselves when the autopilot function is used. But when there is a danger on the road, drivers have no time to react, they said.

The company says, "'We told you, we're going to drive you ... Don't worry about the road, watch it, but we're also going to put this giant 20-inch screen right here with Web-browsing capabilities so you can be distracted the entire time ... but if you crash, that's your fault,'" said attorney Mike Morgan. Hudson said he suffers pain from fractured vertebrae and has some cognitive problems since the accident two weeks ago on the Florida Turnpike. He says he had his hands on the wheel as the car traveled 80mph but he also was looking at his phone in the moments before his Model S slammed into the unoccupied Ford Fiesta. A Tesla spokeswoman says there's no reason to believe the autopilot feature malfunctioned and that drivers should always maintain control of the vehicle when using the autopilot function. But Hudson's attorneys say there is a disconnect between the official company policy and what salespeople tell customers in showrooms. (This Tesla Autopilot crash was fatal.)


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