Tesla Inc. settles class action lawsuit over Autopilot claim paying $5 million. The lawsuit stated Tesla misrepresented on its website Model S and Model X car models, confirming the cars came with capabilities designed to make highway driving “safer.” The plaintiffs of the lawsuit claimed that the Autopilot software in the company’s cars was “essentially unusable and demonstrably dangerous.”
Tesla initially announced that the semi-autonomous driving software, called Autopilot, would maintain safety and reduce the possibility of clashes, however, it turned out to be unstable and erratic. The driving software users claim that, contrary to what Tesla represented to them, they became beta testers of half-baked dangerous vehicle software.
Tesla went on updating the software system, aiming to bring it closer to the promised version, but the improvements took much more time that the car users were told to expect.
In the recent statement, Tesla emphasized the ongoing improvement of the Autopilot system and acknowledged the need to pay back customers (including those outside the U.S., who technically aren’t part of the suit) for the inconvenience. So, car owners who paid $5,000 for Autopilot will be reimbursed for as little as $20 or as much as $280 depending on the time period they had to wait.
The settlement proposal was sent several weeks ago and the plaintiffs filed documents confirming that they agreed to it and as such would be dismissing the lawsuit as soon as the court permitted it. Yet, the proposed settlement does not include the safety allegations, rather it focuses on the delay in making the promised features available to consumers.
Tesla’s Autopilot system has been severely scrutinized in recent months after two Tesla drivers died in crashes in which Autopilot was engaged.
The case is closely watched in the automotive and legal communities, so all we can do is to follow the further development of the tricky lawsuit.