Despite Tesla’s safety warnings about autopilot, experts say Joshua Brown’s family could argue he was led to believe the system was more capable than it is
The family of a man killed when his Tesla hit a truck while under the control of its autopilot function may have legal grounds to sue the company, legal experts say.
Joshua Brown died on 7 May after his Model S hit the side of a truck while in so-called “autopilot” mode, in the first known death involving a self-driving car.
Tesla’s system is not in fact fully autonomous – it is described in with warning notices as “traffic-aware cruise control” and reminds drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times. Despite these warnings Tesla has said that there was no reaction either by the software or the driver before the crash, and the driver of the truck has claimed he heard a Harry Potter movie playing in the car after the crash..
The Florida sheriff’s department confirmed that a portable DVD player was found in the car, but it is not known for sure whether Brown was watching a film at the time of the crash, which is still under investigation by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.