Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Lawsuit Claims Some Tesla Safety Features Are 'Vaporware'

In a class-action filed in California, Tesla owners allege the automaker is using faulty software for standard safety features and autopilot. One owner said he turned on the autopilot, and his car started veering out of lanes, lurching and slamming on the brakes for no reason.

"The Enhanced Autopilot Features are simply too dangerous to be used," the lawsuit says in Sheikh v. Tesla.

"Vaporware"

The plaintiffs say they paid a $5,000 premium for the upgrade package, but it turned out to be "vaporware." They paid for software that is "nonexistent," according to the complaint.

Kedely Sulprizio, a Tesla spokeswoman, said the software is upgraded incrementally and called the lawsuit a "disingenuous attempt to secure attorney's fees."

"The inaccurate and sensationalistic view of our technology put forth by this group is exactly the kind of misinformation that threatens to harm consumer safety," she said.

The plaintiffs said they had not received any software updates to resolve the problems with their cars. In addition to the autopilot issues, the complaints says the automatic braking system, side collision warnings and others features do not work.

No Fail-Safe

Tesla is battling lawsuits on various fronts, including another class-action in California over allegations of unintended acceleration in its cars. The plaintiffs, including victims in 22 crashes, contend that the automaker should have installed a fail-safe to turn off the cars.

In that case, Son v. Tesla, the company says it has no duty to make a fail-safe. Tesla says no manufacturer has "ever" been required to do so.

In the meantime, the company has been facing at least seven lawsuits by stockholders and other civil actions. According to reports, the company is being used by several contractors for millions in unpaid bills.

In December 2016 alone, lawyers filed complaints against the company for more than $10 million in alleged damages.

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