Tesla's Autopilot was on During a Car Crash which killed two in Gardena, Arizona
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Tesla’s autopilot woes continue as a driver operating the car on autopilot will stand trial for the killing of two people in the car according to a Gardena judge.
Kevin George Aziz Riad has enough evidence against him to be charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter. The judge ruled that the trial can proceed against the driver in a 2019 crash that left two people dead in Gardena.
This will be the first felony prosecution in the United States against a driver using a partially automated driving system. Police report that the Tesla left a freeway and ran a red light doing 74mph when it demolished another car at an intersection just around New Year's Eve of 2019.
In the crash, Gilberto Alcazar Lopez and Maria Guadalupe Nieves-Lopez were killed on their first date.
Investigators are saying that the Tesla’s autosteer technology along with its traffic-aware cruise control was active. An engineer working for Tesla testified that the sensors indicated riad has a hand on the steering wheel but the crash data shows no use of breaks. A police officer had also testified stating that a handful of traffic signs telling drivers to slow down off the highway were ignored, obviously.
Tesla has since stated that the autopilot and the more advanced full self-driving systems need some sort of attention given by the drivers who will be ready to react. The misuse of the autopilot has occurred on numerous occasions.
Criminal charges aren’t the first involving an automated driving system but they may be the first to involve this form of driver technology. Arizona authorities have filed a charge of negligent homicide in 2020 against an Uber driver who attempted to test fully autonomous cars on the road. He eventually struck a van which in turn hit a pedestrian.