Craig Brown Blog | When "Auto-Pilot" is Not Auto-Pilot | Talkmarkets
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Craig Brown is an attorney with over 20 years experience in commercial litigation. As such, he brings a different perspective than most who blog on financial matters. His fascination with the financial markets began when he noticed the striking resemblance between the credit default swap market ... more

When "Auto-Pilot" is Not Auto-Pilot

Date: Monday, September 11, 2017 3:13 PM EST

Autonomous cars have quite a ways to go.  Tesla (TSLA) has for years had an auto-pilot feature on its cars that is not exactly true to its name.  It appears they were beta testing tens of thousands of cars on customers and collecting data from the cars to improve performance and autonomous performance.  Unfortunately, for one customer in Florida whose car could not tell the difference between the white side of a semi and the sky, that meant an early death.

News out today suggests the government believes Tesla's "Auto-Pilot" system was at least partially at fault, which I wrote about many months ago.

Now I make no predictions on the outcome of the suit as lawyers will sue whenever they have the least bit of evidence - or even none- to support their position.  I am an attorney and see this all the time.  Still, the government finding the Tesla Auto-Pilot at least potentially at fault will likely lead to some liability.  Well, using 70,000 or so customers to beta test your system may have its consequences. 

By the way, the House passed legislation recently to advance autonomous car testing throughout the U.S. and I expect the Senate to follow suit.  We will see.  Either way, the federal government taking some control over the regulation of these vehicles will certainly speed up their deployment.

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