Tesla settles Autopilot class-action lawsuit with Model S, Model X owners

Tesla Model S and Model X buyers who brought a lawsuit against Telsa had their day in court — and it looks like they’ve won. On Thursday, Tesla agreed to settle with the buyers who said the optional Autopilot driver assistance system was “essentially unusable and demonstrably dangerous,” Reuters reported.

Relying on what they claimed was misrepresentation by the company, the buyers spent $5,000 for automated emergency braking, side collision warning, and the Autopilot software. In the lawsuit, the owners said the features were “completely inoperable.”

The settlement agreement refers to the time delay in activating the Autopilot features but does not address the issue of safety raised by the claimants.

In a company statement Tesla said, “Since rolling out our second generation of Autopilot hardware in October 2016, we have continued to provide software updates that have led to a major improvement in Autopilot functionality.” Tesla said it would compensate “all customers globally in the same way,” even though only U.S. customers brought the lawsuit.

The winners won’t get much in financial compensation if the settlement is accepted. According to Reuters, customers in the suit who paid for the Autopilot upgrade during 2016 and 2017 will receive from $20 to $280. Telsa will put $5 million-plus in a fund to compensate the buyers and pay lawyers’ fees.

The customer lawsuit was the “only known court challenge” of Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance suite, the article notes.

The settlement offer is not the final word on the case, however. Filed late Thursday in San Jose federal court, the settlement must be approved by U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman.

The lawsuit was filed in San Jose, California in 2017 by six Tesla Model S and Model X owners from California, Colorado, Florida, and New Jersey. In filing as a class action, the Tesla buyers wanted to represent a class consisting of all buyers in the United States.

Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk have said Autopilot use results in 40 percent fewer crashes than humans driving without the driver-assistance system.

There have been only a few fatalities involving Teslas or other cars using self-driving technology, but those that have occurred have drawn scrutiny. Consumers and regulators question whether the technologies are sufficiently advanced at this time for use — or even testing on public roads.

Drivers in some cases have demonstrated too much reliance on the emerging technology, despite warnings from manufacturers that they should to pay attention and keep their hands on the steering wheel to take over when needed.


Report: Nintendo will release two new Switch models in 2019

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo will unveil two new Switch models at E3 in June and release them later this year. One of the models will target hardcore gamers, while the other will be budget friendly.

Tesla Model 3 vulnerability exposed at Pwn2Own; hackers take home the car

A Tesla Model 3 vulnerability was exposed at the Pwn2Own hacking competition. The hackers, who were able to display a message on the electric vehicle's internet browser, won $35,000 and took home the car.

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.

From cars to computers: How data is transforming F1 racing

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

Is this electric car startup the next Tesla, or will it go the way of Coda?

The electric car startup formerly known as EVelozcity has changed its name to Canoo. It also announced a lineup of four cars including a commuter-friendly model and a lifestyle-oriented car. Its first electric vehicles will begin to appear…

Ford’s born-again Bronco off-roader will soothe your 1990s nostalgia

Ford confirmed it will bring the Bronco back to American showrooms in 2020. We haven't seen the truck yet, but dealers who got a preview of it during a private event say it's a true off-roader aimed directly at the Jeep Wrangler.

Recall bounty hunters needed as millions ignore deadly Takata airbag recall

It's the recall campaign from hell and too many people aren't responding. Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) and Carma Project want to give financial rewards to people who alert family and friends to the deadly Takata airbag recall.

Keep your driving record squeaky clean with these top-flight radar detectors

Nobody likes getting a speeding ticket, but these gadgets can help. Check out our picks for the best radar detectors on the market, from the likes of Valentine One, Escort, and Beltronics.