Elon Musk-run Tesla did not fix the Autopilot system after a fatal crash in the US in 2016 that killed a driver, the electric car-maker’s engineers have reportedly admitted in their testimonies.
According to Bloomberg, the engineers admitted this in a testimony in 2021 in a family’s lawsuit over a similar 2019 fatal Tesla collision that is now headed for a trial in the US.
Despite the company’s knowledge “that there’s cross traffic or potential for cross traffic, the Autopilot at the time was not designed to detect that,” according to the testimony given in 2021 by company engineer Chris Payne that was excerpted in a recent court filing.
Engineer Nicklas Gustafsson provided a similar account in a 2021 deposition.
“The electric-car maker didn’t make any changes to its driver-assistance technology to account for crossing traffic in the nearly three years between two high-profile accidents that killed Tesla drivers whose cars slammed into the side of trucks,” the report mentioned, citing newly-revealed testimony.
The family for one of the dead Tesla owners is now seeking punitive damages in a lawsuit, set to go to trial this October.
Tesla is under intense scrutiny for its Autopilot and its Full Self-Driving (FSD) driver assistance features.
In some relief for Tesla CEO Musk, jurors in an Autopilot-related 2019 crash in the US gave the verdict in favour of the electric car company in April this year.
The jury in the California state court awarded plaintiff Justine Hsu, who sued Tesla in 2020, no damages, according to reports.
In February, Tesla received a clean chit from the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in a fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S Autopilot system in 2021.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is also investigating self-driving claims made by Musk.
In February, Tesla paused the rollout of its Full Self-Driving beta software in the US and Canada following a recall of the system.