Tesla driver faces felony charges in US, crash involving Autopilot killed two

  • The Tesla Model S driving on Autopilot slammed into a Honda Civic and killed two people.
Tesla Autopilot has been involved in several cases where the technology were either misused or reportedly had faulty application. (AFP)
Tesla Autopilot has been involved in several cases where the technology were either misused or reportedly had faulty application.

A Tesla Model S driver in the US has been charged with vehicular manslaughter charges. The man was involved in a severe car crash in 2019 that involved a Tesla Model S driving on Autopilot. The car not only ran a red light but slammed into another car and killed two people as well.

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California prosecutors have filed vehicular manslaughter charges against the driver. This is also the first time felony charges have been pressed against a man who was driving a Tesla on Autopilot. In that sense, Tesla Autopilot has again made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

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Autoblog reports that the defendant is the first person to be charged with a felony in the US for a fatal crash involving a motorist who was using a partially automated driving system. The charges were filed in October last year, but they came to light only last week.

Police said that a Tesla Model S was moving at a high speed when it left a freeway and ran a red light in Los Angeles and struck a Honda Civic at an intersection on 29th December 2019. Two people who were in the Honda Civic died at the scene due to the impact. The driver of the Tesla and a woman in the electric car were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

The famous Autopilot technology available in Tesla cars is not fully self-driving technology, but a semi-autonomous driver-assist system. However, in several cases, it was found that the drivers were missing the technology and were fully relying on the car's system. Several fatal accidents have been reported that involved Tesla cars and Autopilot technology. Several lives have been lost as well.

Autopilot and other driver-assist systems are widely used on roads across the world. An estimated 765,000 Tesla cars are equipped with this technology in the US alone. This technology has become a centre of attention for automotive safety agencies. US automotive safety agency NHTSA has been reviewing the widespread misuse of Autopilot by drivers. It is also probing if the technology has any fault.

First Published Date: 19 Jan 2022, 17:50 PM IST
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