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Tesla in Florida: Suits over Autopilot Show Dangers of New Designs

Have you heard about Tesla’s new autopilot feature?

If you’ve been paying attention to this extremely popular electric car company, you know that Tesla has an autopilot function built into its newer vehicles. You may also have heard about some of the controversy over this feature and how it can potentially be dangerous.

An attorney in a Florida car accident case has to take in all of the factors that could have led to a crash – and systems like this are an emerging part of that picture.

A Tesla Accident Case in Florida

Just around Halloween, Wired magazine reported on a story in Florida where a commuter sued the Tesla company after his car, which was on autopilot, hit a stationary vehicle in the roadway. Just search the web, and you will discover several other cases and issues involving Tesla’s autopilot feature that are cropping up on American roads, and why this feature requires abundant public awareness as well as caution.

Limitations of Autopilot and Smart Car Features

What’s important to understand is that although we have pioneered self-driving car technology, cars with Tesla autopilot and other similar new designs are not fully autonomous vehicles. They’re not meant to operate without close human supervision, and that presents a gray area of what’s causing a lot of problems right now.

If you look at the Florida case, you see that there’s a particular danger in stationary objects that Tesla autopilot might not be able to factor into the autopilot trajectory. In some ways, this is similar to the new vehicles built with lane departure warning systems and anti-collision sensors. They may detect a brick wall ahead of a car, but they may not detect something like a stranded motorist on the shoulder of the highway.

The problem is that when these accidents happen, they cause extreme damage. Highway accidents occur with vehicles operating at speeds of over 60 miles an hour, and that leads to catastrophic and tragic consequences. So we’re really talking about life and death.

As such, there’s been a lot of back-and-forth about Tesla autopilot and what it represents.

The company has continually stressed that consumers need to use autopilot responsibly – they’ve even built in a steering wheel sensor to show if a driver does not participate in holding on to the steering wheel during the trip. The problem is that this kind of flies in the face of the convenience features that autopilot is promoted as having  – if you have to still concentrate so much on supervising, what’s the point of autopilot at all?

All of these questions have regulators and others scrambling to figure out the right mix of rules and safeguards for these brand-new systems.

If you have questions about a car accident in the state of Florida, talk to Steve Watrel, a trusted Jacksonville car accident attorney with a local staff who is dedicated to helping Florida families. Our dedicated and attentive attorneys and staff will help you to seek compensation for your injuries and get justice in a Florida court.