Tesla is once again in the headlines after a dozing driver who was using the onboard “Autopilot” systems struck and killed a Japanese pedestrian. The man’s surviving family members have filed suit against the U.S. automaker.
According to a recent article appearing on the Newsweek website, the suit was filed on behalf of the family of 44-year-old Yoshiro Umeda in San Jose Federal Court on Tuesday, April 28th. The case involves an incident that happened in Tokyo in April 2018 and is the first of its kind because it involves the death of a pedestrian.
According to the documents filed with the court, Yoshihiro Umeda was killed on April 29th, 2018 when he was struck and killed by a driver in a Tesla Model X. The lawsuit alleges that the vehicle “suddenly accelerated” when a car in front of it switched lanes.
The vehicle then crashed into a van, motorcycles, and pedestrians that were stopped along an expressway where a prior accident had happened just outside of Tokyo. The driver of the Tesla had engaged the vehicle’s Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC) feature engaged.
Because the driver was found to have been drowsy just before the crash, the plaintiff’s stated within the filed complaint that it expected Tesla to try to lay all blame for the crash on the driver.
“Tesla likely will portray this accident as the sole result of a drowsy, inattentive driver in order to distract from the obvious shortcomings of its automated technology.”
The plaintiffs believe that Umeda’s death could have been completely avoided if not for the “substantial defects” in Tesla’s autopilot system. The suit alleges that Tesla should be held culpable because the company had failed to take adequate precautions to ensure the safety of its vehicles in a scenario like the one that killed Umeda.