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Tesla Calls on Apple for Support in Autopilot Lawsuit

Tesla turns to Apple in a lawsuit over a fatal crash involving its Autopilot feature
April 4, 2024
Tesla Autopilot

Tesla is roped into a lawsuit and they're turning to Apple for assistance, but not for the reasons you might think. The case revolves around a fatal accident involving Tesla's Autopilot and an Apple engineer, Wei "Walter" Huang, who was behind the wheel. Tesla's defense hinges on proving Huang was distracted by a game on his iPhone rather than monitoring the road.

Scheduled for trial on April 8, this case delves deep into the contentious debate surrounding autonomous driving technology and driver responsibility. Tesla's request for Apple's input stems from allegations that Huang was engaged with his iPhone during the fatal crash in 2018. The incident has stirred significant controversy, particularly among Huang's family and their legal team, who claim Tesla and Apple are too cozy in their collaboration for Tesla's defense.

Investigations by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed Huang's iPhone was active with a strategy game at the time of the accident, though it's unclear if he was actively playing it. Tesla argues this point to emphasize that Autopilot's safety depends on driver attentiveness.

Amidst legal maneuvers, Tesla introduced a statement from an Apple engineer outside the designated discovery period, complicating the matter. This move and Tesla's reliance on Apple's cooperation raise questions about the intersection of technology, ethics, and legal accountability.

As Apple finds itself entangled in the dispute, the tech giant is cautious, balancing its role as a witness with protecting its interests. This case highlights the challenges at the forefront of autonomous technology and its implications for safety and human oversight.

This lawsuit isn't just a legal battle; it's a pivotal moment that could shape public perception and regulatory approaches to autonomous driving technology. It underscores the importance of driver engagement and the complex relationship between humans and machines on the road.

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