While Tesla is under increased scrutiny related to its Autopilot system, the automaker chooses to settle an ongoing class action lawsuit.
The recent deal must still undergo approval in San Jose federal court, which may be granted soon by District Judge Beth Labson Freeman. Few details about the specifics of the agreement have been divulged. What we do know is that a group of Tesla owners filed the suit stating that the company's semi-autonomous Autopilot system was primarily unusable, as well as dangerous.
A group of six Tesla Model S and Model X owners teamed up with lawyer Steve Berman to go to bat against Tesla after the individuals each paid an extra $5,000 for a system that they claim wasn't fully functional. The Autopilot technology was (and still is) in the midst of several feature updates. Although the plaintiffs were made well aware at the time of purchase that Autopilot was still in the updating stages, they believe Tesla misled them.
At the time that these owners paid for the optional equipment, it was unable to perform functions such as automated emergency braking or side collision warnings. Additionally, the automatic high beam headlights weren't working properly, if at all. The group asserts that the technology was braking at times when there was no reason to stop or failing to slow down for large trucks.
After paying the additional $5,000 upcharge for a system they expected to make their car safer and then not seeing the results, they chose to sue Tesla. Though the lawyer reached out to represent a nationwide class of Tesla owners, only these six are mentioned. The case specifically alleges (via Automotive News):
. . . the company had engaged in fraud by concealment, and had violated various state consumer protection and unfair competition laws.
Neither Tesla nor Steve Berman responded to Automotive News' request for comment.
Source: Automotive News