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Lawsuit: Autopilot at the Merge

Who will win this Autopilot Accident lawsuit?

  • None or Both because It'll be settled out of court

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other: See discussion

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    16

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
8,806
7,616
Visalia, CA
Tesla Model X Lawsuit Alleges Autopilot Failed

The accident happened when the white Audi in front merged from the right in December 2017 in Long Island Expressway, New York.

The driver claimed Autopilot was on but it ignored the merging car and tried to fill the gap between the Model X and the truck in front by automatic acceleration. The driver saw an open space on the left and manually turned to the left adjacent lane but collided with 2 other cars because the space was no longer open at a fraction of second.

It would be helpful if there's a sound recording so we could hear the audio status of Autosteer but its microphone was off.

I would not be surprised that Autopilot was not competent at many merging scenarios especially in 2017 but the video doesn't seem to show a traditional Autopilot behavior.

If Autopilot did not sense the cutting off white Audi in front, it would close the front distance as if there's no Audi there.

However, in this case, the Autopilot seemed to completely stop first for a fraction of a second while the white Audi was cutting in front.

It could be that the driver became panicky and pressed the wrong pedal, manually accelerated the car, then manually steered the car which disabled the Autopilot completely at that panicky moment.

Either way, my principle is: since Autopilot is beta, the driver accepted the risks/blames as posted on the display screen in order to use it, so, in the end, Tesla would win the case.

What do you think?

 

drtimhill

Active Member
Apr 25, 2019
1,755
2,140
Seattle
My money is that the driver panicked and was the cause of that crazy acceleration. Are there other cases of AP at the time going crazy like this? I not, he will have an uphill battle.

Tesla are very unlikely to settle out of court .. they would set a dangerous precedent.
 

HankLloydRight

No Roads
Jan 18, 2014
12,958
10,988
Connecticut
No way AP would accelerate that fast in TACC. The driver simply panicked and hit the wrong pedal. The second he turned out of the lane AP, was disabled including acceleration.

You can definitely see the Tesla accelerating before hitting the first car, after AP would be disengaged.
 

HankLloydRight

No Roads
Jan 18, 2014
12,958
10,988
Connecticut
We don't know if the Model X is on AP1 or AP2+. I realized if the car was in TACC (in AP1 AFAIK) turning the wheel would NOT disengage TACC. But even still, anyone who uses TACC knows that TACC never accelerates that quickly in stopped traffic.

You can see the Tesla begin to accelerate very quickly almost immediately upon starting to leave the lane. If TACC had a fix on the truck, or even the car in the next lane, it would not have accelerated that fast! I've been in a few scenarios where there is a car in front of me in slow moving traffic (e.g. on-lane construction) and suddenly the car moves left and there's open road in front of me.. even then TACC doesn't accelerate that quickly.

100% driver error (wrong pedal applied).

edit: At about 0:03, you can even see the nose of the car tip from the torque, commensurate with flooring the accelerator (something with which I'm very familiar!).
 
Last edited:

P3dStealth

Member
Nov 12, 2019
933
998
USA
That is a bad driver that clearly slammed the acceleration pedal instead of the brake. The car is even still accelerating into the last car it hits. If they were pushing the brake they should have been stopped. Claims he turned to avoid crashing? Why wouldn't you hit the brake to avoid crashing! It's because he thought he was.
 

Barklikeadog

Active Member
Jul 13, 2016
1,823
1,318
PA
And I am always amazed at how people draw a definite conclusion (either way) about an accident based solely on a video. Everyone is an expert these days :)
The only conclusion is the small print. Autopilot could drive the car off a cliff. It could post 'I AM DRIVING OFF A CLIFF' on the display on video... and Tesla would say: driver's fault. Nobody will believe the driver, even if it really did happen. So, driver's fault.
 

drtimhill

Active Member
Apr 25, 2019
1,755
2,140
Seattle
The only conclusion is the small print. Autopilot could drive the car off a cliff. It could post 'I AM DRIVING OFF A CLIFF' on the display on video... and Tesla would say: driver's fault. Nobody will believe the driver, even if it really did happen. So, driver's fault.

The skepticism here is that there are many cases where drivers blame mechanical failure of car when it was their fault, and one of the most common is the "uncontrolled acceleration" which, again and again, is shown to be the driver slamming the accelerator when he was trying to hit the brake. Not always, of course, and there have been well documented recalls when it was mechanical failure. But, judging by the reports to the various agencies, the vast majority are driver error combined with a driver/lawyer trying to shift blame and benefit financially. And the video does look awfully like "slamming on the gas in a panic" since the car surges forward just at the moment a driver would instinctively be hitting the brake.
 

Barklikeadog

Active Member
Jul 13, 2016
1,823
1,318
PA
The skepticism here is that there are many cases where drivers blame mechanical failure of car when it was their fault, and one of the most common is the "uncontrolled acceleration" which, again and again, is shown to be the driver slamming the accelerator when he was trying to hit the brake. Not always, of course, and there have been well documented recalls when it was mechanical failure. But, judging by the reports to the various agencies, the vast majority are driver error combined with a driver/lawyer trying to shift blame and benefit financially. And the video does look awfully like "slamming on the gas in a panic" since the car surges forward just at the moment a driver would instinctively be hitting the brake.

But mechanical failure does happen. And most people don't believe it until it happens to them or someone they know.

Back up a few years to the intro of summon. Guy parks his car, goes into the store, comes out and his car drove into a logging truck.
Guy is WTF?!!? Tesla said: driver fault!
Tesla gives logs: driver pulled up, stopped, initiated summon, opened his door 1 second later, closed the door 2 seconds later, car drives into truck, driver door opens minutes later.

Apparently he hit summon by accident and didn't realize it.
Everyone here: driver's fault!!! Tesla: Driver's fault!!!
I said it was Tesla's fault, poor software programming. I believed the driver's story, and that story matched the logs.

At the time, if a driver initiated summon, it would ask if you want to cancel, otherwise it would count down and initiate.
Well this guy walked away not knowing this process was going on.

Tesla then updated summon. If it was initiated, it would then have to be confirmed on the screen.
That update tells me... yea we f'd up and need to change this.... but NOT OUR FAULT. Pffft


I had to come back and edit...
To explain how the car would drive into logs and let them penetrate the windshield... Tesla admitted for the first time that the sensors don't see above the bumper and cannot see narrow obstacles like a person on a bike.
 

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