Tesla prevailed in the first U.S. trial over whether its Autopilot driver-assistance technology led to a traffic death.
A Riverside County Superior Court jury decided the feature wasn’t defective in a 2019 crash near Los Angeles that killed a man and severely injured two passengers when a Tesla Model 3 left the highway and crashed into a palm tree, according to news reports.
The plaintiffs said the Autopilot system wasn’t operating correctly and took the vehicle off the road, not allowing the driver to take back control, the reports said. Tesla argued it’s uncertain that the system was engaged at the time of the crash and blamed the accident on driver error. It said the driver had drunk alcohol before starting out in the Tesla.
The jury reached its verdict on a vote of nine to three after deliberating for four days.
Tesla has been facing increasing scrutiny over its semiautonomous technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulatory agency is investigating about three dozen accidents involving Teslas believed to be operating on driver-assistance systems at the time.