Some Tesla car owners are up in arms after learning that they were made into guinea pigs by the company. A class action suit was filed the other day in California by Tesla owners arguing that the company used them as beta testers of is autopilot software that is now being described as "dangerously defective".
The complaint covered owners of the Model S and Model X that were sold in 2016 and 2017. The complainants, numbering 47,000, stressed that the vehicles would often lurch, veer off lanes, fail to stop or slow down when approaching other cars, and would slam on the breaks for no reason. All these would happen when the Autopilot feature is on, according to the complainants. The lawsuit said that the complainants have "become beta testers of half-baked software that renders Tesla vehicles dangerous".
As reported by Jalopnik, Tesla has called the lawsuit as a "disingenuous attempt to secure attorney's fees posing as a legitimate legal action". The company further stressed that the lawsuit has misinterpreted a number of facts. Tesla is also trying to turn the table on the complainants by saying that the "misinformation" being spread by such lawsuits and complainants are what "threatens to harm consumer safety".
Interestingly, Tesla recalled around 53,000 vehicles a day after the class-action suit was filed. The recall involved Model S and Model X cars manufactured between February and October last year. Tesla explained that the cars had a small gear that could possibly break due to manufacturing issues by its supplier. In the event that this small component breaks, the car's parking brake can become stuck in place.
In 2016, a man was killed in Ohio after his Tesla Model S crashed into a tractor trailer while using on Autopilot mode. Another Tesla owner, this time in China, also perished in an accident early last year. The German government also demanded Tesla to remove the "Autopilot" tag in its market campaigns after a Tesla car utilizing the Autopilot technology crashed into a tourist bus. No one was severely hurt in that incident.
Bloomberg noted that there are other pending cases involving Tesla cars in which drivers lost control of their vehicles causing them to crash through their garage walls. The new lawsuit, Sheikh et al vs Tesla, Inc., also involves loss of control while utilizing the "dangerously defective" Autopilot technology.