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Tesla must pay for customer’s car due to ‘massive danger’ caused by self-driving Autopilot feature

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Tesla Crash Investigation (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Tesla Crash Investigation (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Tesla has had to pay one customer back almost all that she paid for a car because of problems with its autopilot feature.

Elon Musk’s electric car company paid the German owner almost 112,000 euros for her Model S because a technical report showed that the vehicle did not recognise obstacles properly and would brake randomly.

The court ruled that this could cause a “massive danger”, especially in inner cities, according to Der Spiegel.

Tesla’s lawyers contended that autopilot is not designed for city traffic, but the court said it was not feasible for drivers to keep switching the system on and off while driving – which would be distracting.

"Once again, it turns out that Tesla does not keep the full-bodied promise when it comes to autopilot," the plaintiff’s lawyer said.

Tesla has had a series of issues regarding its autopilot feature. Recently, the self-driving mode almost sent an owner into an oncoming tram.

Despite its name, Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving’ is not an autopilot system nor is it capable of driving itself, but rather a driver assistance program where the user must remain capable of always taking back control of the vehicle.

Tesla’s self-driving capabilities have been called into question repeatedly; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that from July of last year through 15 May, vehicles using Autopilot, “Full Self-Driving," Traffic Aware Cruise Control, or other driver-assist systems were in 273 crashes.

Tesla has about 830,000 vehicles with the systems on the road, giving it the highest ratio of crashes to self-driving vehicles.

Mr Musk has said that Tesla’s value is based on whether it can develop self-driving technology, that that the feature was “essential” and  the difference between Tesla being worth a lot of money or worth “basically zero”.

The senior executive in charge of AI and computer vision, Andrej Karpathy, also recently said he is leaving the company. Nearly 200 other autopilot workers have been fired.

Tesla did not respond to The Independent’s numerous requests for comment.

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