The trial following a fatal 2019 Tesla automobile accident that killed a 50-year-old man has resulted in testimony from Tesla CEO Elon Musk and National Highway Traffic Safety Advisor Missy Cummings. The case will focus on Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance system, which Banner family attorneys have blamed for the collision.
Banner was killed in a vehicle accident in March 2019, when his Tesla Model 3 collided with a semi-truck on an interstate in Florida. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that Banner engaged Autopilot just ten seconds before the collision. In an email to ABC News in 2019, Tesla wrote:
“Shortly following the accident, we informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board that the vehicle’s logs showed that Autopilot was first engaged by the driver just 10 seconds prior to the accident, and then the driver immediately removed his hands from the wheel. Autopilot had not been used at any other time during that drive. We are deeply saddened by this accident and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this tragedy.”
Accidents involving Teslas are among the most notorious in the automobile sector owing to Autopilot. Media frequently assume that when a Tesla crashes, it’s because of faulty Autopilot or Full Self-Driving. However, Tesla never encourages drivers to remove their hands from the wheel while using it.
According to a Bloomberg report, Tesla attorneys will fight Musk taking the stand as a witness. They’ve tried to persuade the court not to allow Banner’s family to have Musk testify when evidence is gathered.
Additionally, as a witness, Missy Cummings, who is an opponent of Tesla’s Autopilot and Tesla in general, will be called to the stand. Cummings was recently named as a safety advisor to the NHTSA, which has drawn the ire of Tesla fans due to her previous biases against Tesla’s semi-autonomous technology.