Tesla agrees to settle class action over Autopilot billed as 'safer'

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The driver manually hit the brakes a fraction of a second before impact.

The electric auto maker has settled a class-action lawsuit with buyers of its Model S and Model X vehicles who alleged that the assisted-driving system was "essentially unusable and demonstrably risky".

The groups said Tesla's marketing and advertising of its Autopilot feature violate FTC regulations because it is likely to mislead customers into reasonably believing that their vehicles have self-driving or autonomous capabilities.

South Jordan Police Department shows a traffic collision involving a Tesla Model S sedan with a Fire Department mechanic truck stopped at a red light in South Jordan Utah. Witnesses indicated the Tesla
Tesla agrees to settle class action over Autopilot billed as 'safer'

"In fact, new vehicles equipped with Tesla's newest software still do not have some of the basic safety features that are standard features of cars equipped with the older software - and that are supposed to be standard features of Tesla's newest vehicles, too", Sheikh said.

The incident report obtained by The Associated Press Thursday through a public records request also reveals that the driver told police she assumed the vehicle's automatic brakes would detect stopped traffic and stop. They say the lead vehicle then likely switched lanes and the Model S automatically sped up to its preset speed of 60 miles per hour without noticing the stopped cars ahead.

"We've agreed to compensate customers who purchased Autopilot on Hardware 2 vehicles who had to wait longer than we expected for these (upgraded) features", said a Tesla spokesperson, in a statement.

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Lommatzsch said the auto did not provide any audio or visual warnings before colliding with the firetruck which happened on on May 11 on the Utah highway.

Tesla has not yet commented on the latest AP report.

Lommatzsch broke her foot in the crash and this week was charged with a misdemeanor traffic citation. She told police she was looking at her phone and comparing different routes to her destination. "Contrary to the proper use of Autopilot, the driver did not pay attention to the road at all times, did not keep her hands on the steering wheel, and she used it on a street with no center median".

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The company has come under increased scrutiny over its Autopilot system in recent months after two Tesla drivers died in crashes in which Autopilot was engaged. The National Transportation Safety Board investigated a 2016 fatal crash in Florida involving a Tesla Model S using Autopilot.

This past March, a Model X driving along a California highway careened into a highway divider whereupon the car's battery pack caught on fire and engulfed the vehicle.

Meanwhile Tesla CEO Elon Musk continues to complain about news coverage of vehicle crashes that may have been caused by the Autopilot system. In this case, the ongoing delays are in large part thanks to a big falling out with the supplier of its safety cameras, Mobileye, which resulted in the company refusing to supply Tesla with any more of its products. In a final update, published May 16, Sergeant Samuel Winkler confirmed a Tesla investigation had already taken place.

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