“Fatal Flaw” In Tesla’s Autonomous Technology?

Salt Lake City, Utah – A woman who was driving a Tesla while in semi-autonomous mode and crashed into the back of parked fire truck at a stop light, has filed a lawsuit against the company. Heather Lommatzsch claims in the lawsuit filed Tuesday, that Tesla salespeople told her in 2016 when she purchased the Model S that she could just touch the steering wheel occasionally while using the Autopilot mode. Lommatzsch, 29, said she tried to brake when she saw the stopped cars, but that the car’s brakes did not work.

This is not the first time Tesla’s driver-assist technology has come under scrutiny. In the video above you will see a report Transportation Nation Network filed about the dangers, and what one consumer watchdog group spokesman called the “fatal flaw” in Tesla’s autonomous technology. What is it? Watch and find out.

As for Lommatzsch’s complaint, the accident happened May 11 in the Salt Lake City suburb of South Jordan. Lommatzsch broke her foot and was cited with a misdemeanor for failure to keep a proper lookout. The firetruck’s driver suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Tesla spokesman Dave Arnold did release a statement about the lawsuit. In it he said Tesla “has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents. When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of the vehicle at all times,” Arnold said.

Arnold pointed out that Lommatzsch was cited and that the final police report said she told police she was looking at her phone before the crash. According to the report, car data revealed Lommatzsch did not touch the steering wheel for 80 seconds before the crash. Data taken from her car showed it increased speed for 3.5 seconds before crashing into the firetruck. The driver then manually hit the brakes a fraction of a second before the impact.

Police suggested that the car was following another vehicle and dropped its speed to 55 mph (89 kph) to match the leading vehicle. They say the leading vehicle then likely changed lanes and the Tesla automatically sped up to its preset speed of 60 mph (97 kph) without noticing the stopped cars ahead.

Lommatzsch claimed she has suffered serious physical injuries that have negatively impacted her quality of life and led to substantial medical bills. She is seeking at least $300,000 in damages.

For more on this story visit apnews.com.


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