A German court has ordered U.S. automaker, Tesla, to pay a woman over $100,000 as compensation for a malfunctioning Autopilot feature in her Model X.
A German court has ordered Tesla to pay a woman 99,416 Euros ($101,000) as compensation for a malfunctioning Autopilot feature in her Model X. Autopilot is Tesla’s proprietary driver-assistance feature that has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny over the past years. The technology is far from perfect and Tesla insists that it is not a replacement for a human driver and should only be used by a fully attentive person at the wheel.
The basic Autopilot mode comes as a standard feature on all Tesla vehicles made after Sept. 2014 and offers multiple safety features, including adaptive cruise control and lane-centering assistance. Tesla also offers an optional Enhanced Autopilot package for $6,000. It includes not only all the basic Autopilot mode features but also several Full Self-Driving (FSD) features, such as Autopark, Summon, Smart Summon and Auto Lane Change.
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Tesla has been ordered by a court in Munich, Germany, to refund a Model X owner almost the full price of the car after she filed a case against the automaker for problems with the car’s Autopilot feature. According to a report by German publication Der Spiegel, Tesla must pay 99,420 Euros ($101,000) to the aggrieved customer, plus a five percent interest. On top of that, the company must also pay 80 percent of her legal fees.
Phantom Braking By Tesla Autopilot Is A Known Problem
According to the plaintiff, she bought the car in Dec. 2016 for 112,640 Euros ($114,500), and it was delivered to her in March 2017. She paid an additional 5,500 Euros ($5,58o) for the Autopilot feature, which turned out to be an annoying experience. As per her complaint, the Autopilot is unreliable while identifying obstacles and often activates the brakes without any reason. The court agreed with her and ruled that the sudden braking posed a grave danger to the occupants of the car, as well as other road users. Tesla is yet to respond to the verdict, but during the trial, the company argued that the Autopilot feature is only meant for the highway and not the city.
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Tesla’s Autopilot was released with a lot of hype but is still a work in progress for the most part. A recent NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) report revealed that there were at least 273 Tesla crashes since last year while using the company’s advanced driver assistance features, raising more questions about the Autopilot mode that has already been under the scanner for a long time. ‘Phantom braking,’ in particular, has been reported by Autopilot users from all around the world, including the U.S., where the NHTSA launched an investigation into the phenomenon after receiving hundreds of complaints about the problem.