Tesla wants Apple's help to beat Autopilot death lawsuit

Posted:
in General Discussion

Tesla wants Apple to testify in an upcoming wrongful death lawsuit over its Autopilot feature, by proving the Apple engineer behind the wheel was playing games instead of paying attention.

A Tesla
A Tesla



Tesla faces a trial on April 8 over a fatal crash from 2018 involving its Autopilot feature, and whether its software is at fault for a car accident. However, lawyers representing the family of the deceased driver, Apple engineer Wei "Walter" Huang" has accused Apple of working with Tesla to help its case.

A pretrial motion filed earlier this week says Apple was "engaging in a secret discovery work-around to help support Tesla in its defense of the pending case," reports The Verge.

In the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board's initial decision on the crash, it determined that the 2018 crash in Mountain View, California was caused by Autopilot on a Tesla Model X failing to recognize an obstacle, resulting in a 71 mile-per-hour crash into a highway barrier. The initial crash was followed by impacts from two other cars, as well as a fire from a battery breach.

At the time, the NTSB determined that an iPhone used by Huang had a strategy game as its frontmost app at the time of the crash. However, log data wasn't enough to determine whether he was actively playing the game during the crash itself.

The logs did indicate there was a "pattern of active game play" that coincided with morning commute hours, while data transmissions before the impact were "consistent with online game activity." The family says that Huang had the game running passively.

Ultimately, the NTSB reported that the data was "not specific enough to ascertain whether the Tesla driver was holding the phone at the time of the crash."

A new declaration



The family is unhappy about a decision by Tesla to submit a declaration from Apple engineer James Harding, stating that Apple had determined Huang was actively playing a game at the time of the crash.

Furthermore, Tesla and Apple are accused of "trying to circumvent the discovery process" by using Harding's word as testimony instead of a deposition. The deposition is also submitted five months after the end of the discovery period, which meant that the family's lawyers couldn't question Harding before the trial itself.

The lawyers have subpoenaed Apple for more information about the declaration. Apple responded in March that the lawyers were seeking "a substantial volume of Apple's privileged material."

In its application to quash the subpoena, Apple said it is not a party to the case, and hadn't received any notice of entry of order for the dispute. "While Apple is ready to work in good faith with the Parties and to fulfill its obligations as a non-party witness, it is very unclear on its present obligations and seeks guidance from the Court," its lawyers wrote.

The declaration could be crucial to Tesla's defense strategy, as the car maker believes that Autopilot is safe to use, and that it only becomes a danger when drivers are not paying attention to the road.



Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    boboliciousbobolicious Posts: 1,151member
    "the car maker believes that Autopilot is safe to use, and that it only becomes a danger when drivers are not paying attention to the road"
    Define 'auto'...?
    StrangeDaystmayOferronnVictorMortimerBart Ytobianstompyjbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 29
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,976member
    Tim Cook: “Yeah? What’s it worth to ya?”
    edited April 4 StrangeDayszeus423
  • Reply 3 of 29
    feels like this guy should have gotten a darwin award considering he reported this autopilot behavior as being dangerous yet continued to use autopilot on the same stretch of road with autopilot active. 

    999 times out of 1000 i’ll probably side with whoever is accusing tesla of something bad, but this is that 1/1000 for me.  dude literally knew better than to trust autopilot there and got yeeted into a wall at 71mph for it. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobrabyronl
  • Reply 4 of 29
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,925member
    it’s ridiculous that they’re able to market this and full self driving when they are very plainly not. 
    ichbinglitchedtmaymuthuk_vanalingamronnwilliamlondonVictorMortimermacxpresswatto_cobra9secondkox2argonaut
  • Reply 5 of 29
    lam92103lam92103 Posts: 135member
    How is Apple able to figure out what App he was using? Can they do that for all phones? Isn't that spying?
    VictorMortimerjbdragonbobolicious
  • Reply 6 of 29
    it’s ridiculous that they’re able to market this and full self driving when they are very plainly not. 
    With any luck the case might get pushed to the point where this becomes the question?
    ronnVictorMortimerwatto_cobra9secondkox2jbdragon
  • Reply 7 of 29
    XedXed Posts: 2,653member
    "the car maker believes that Autopilot is safe to use, and that it only becomes a danger when drivers are not paying attention to the road"
    Define 'auto'...?
    Would you use that simplistic answer also work for automobile? I'm guessing you wouldn't.

    On the one hand, fuck Tesla and Musk's lies about Autopilot's capabilities, but on the other, autopilot doesn't mean the driver doesn't have to be aware, present, etc. Airplanes have had autopilot for over a century and yet we're still not flying airplanes without pilots in them. Well, except for the drone category and those are controlled by a remote operator. I'm assuming that if a commercial airliner crashed and the NTSB discovered that it was because the pilot was playing games you wouldn't be defending the pilot with a comment like "define 'auto'?"

    I love all the automation I have in my car which allow for more relaxed and safer driving, but I understand that I'm still required to have situational awareness with those automated systems in place inside my automobile. Anything less is just asking to be a Darwin Award nominee.
    muthuk_vanalingamkurai_kagewatto_cobraavon b7
  • Reply 8 of 29
    Musk has done nothing but (hmmm no poop emoji available…… come on Appleinsider) on Apple at every turn. Apple has been cordial and accommodating to Musk, but Musk suffers from evil-short-term-memory and like a certain psycho ex pres. takes every opportunity to villainize those who do not bow down to him. Such freaks at the top of the economic food chain!!! But they'll go on forever because it seems the cliché "Only the good die young" is true!
    ronnVictorMortimerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 29
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,444member
    The Tesla car crashed into a concrete divider. That's something an autonomous car should immediately recognize and avoid. Clearly, there's a deficiency with Tesla's Autopilot that did not seem to recognize the divider.
    ronnwilliamlondonVictorMortimerwatto_cobraravnorodomtobian9secondkox2argonautjbdragon
  • Reply 10 of 29
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,032member
    "the car maker believes that Autopilot is safe to use, and that it only becomes a danger when drivers are not paying attention to the road"

    Haa Haa Haa.......
    ronnwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 29
    Xed said:
    "the car maker believes that Autopilot is safe to use, and that it only becomes a danger when drivers are not paying attention to the road"
    Define 'auto'...?
    Would you use that simplistic answer also work for automobile? I'm guessing you wouldn't.

    On the one hand, fuck Tesla and Musk's lies about Autopilot's capabilities, but on the other, autopilot doesn't mean the driver doesn't have to be aware, present, etc. Airplanes have had autopilot for over a century and yet we're still not flying airplanes without pilots in them. Well, except for the drone category and those are controlled by a remote operator. I'm assuming that if a commercial airliner crashed and the NTSB discovered that it was because the pilot was playing games you wouldn't be defending the pilot with a comment like "define 'auto'?"

    I love all the automation I have in my car which allow for more relaxed and safer driving, but I understand that I'm still required to have situational awareness with those automated systems in place inside my automobile. Anything less is just asking to be a Darwin Award nominee.
    Turdla literally sells cars with something that they call "full self driving".

    Does that imply to you that a human driver still needs to be aware or present?

    The word "autopilot" isn't confusing to actual pilots, but it can be to the general public.  But if Cessna started selling "full self flying", I guarantee you that even a licensed pilot would expect that would be a fully automated aircraft.  I also guarantee the FAA wouldn't allow anything named that to be sold if it wasn't capable of full automation.
    ronn9secondkox2
  • Reply 12 of 29
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,962member
    it’s ridiculous that they’re able to market this and full self driving when they are very plainly not. 
    Tesla  recently modified the name to ‘full self driving - supervised’ which is a much more apt description. This is beside the point as This wasn’t ‘full self driving,’ it was autopilot. 

    To everyone criticizing Tesla, I suggest you take a minute to read the manual (and the on screen warnings) for autopilot. They are very clear that the system requires supervision. The system also has various safeguards that attempt to ensure attentiveness, although they’ve been strengthened in recent years so they likely weren’t as robust at the time of the accident in question. 

    Regardless, if this man was indeed playing games on his phone then he was at fault. Period. Tesla has never claimed autopilot to be a level 3 system that allows drivers to ignore the road nor have they represented it as such. 

    I’m no fan of Musk but I’ve owned a Tesla for 3 years and used both Autopilot and the Full Self Driving beta software. IME the autopilot software has functioned exactly as advertised, including the limitations. The Full Self Driving beta is very much beta. In either case anyone with common sense would not be on their phone. 

    Another question I have is whether it may have disengaged. If you don’t pay attention the system will warn you and subsequently disengage. If the driver was distracted and missed this it may have disengaged and driven into a wall because he failed to take over. 
    edited April 5 watto_cobragatorguytmay
  • Reply 13 of 29
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,962member

    Xed said:
    "the car maker believes that Autopilot is safe to use, and that it only becomes a danger when drivers are not paying attention to the road"
    Define 'auto'...?
    Would you use that simplistic answer also work for automobile? I'm guessing you wouldn't.

    On the one hand, fuck Tesla and Musk's lies about Autopilot's capabilities, but on the other, autopilot doesn't mean the driver doesn't have to be aware, present, etc. Airplanes have had autopilot for over a century and yet we're still not flying airplanes without pilots in them. Well, except for the drone category and those are controlled by a remote operator. I'm assuming that if a commercial airliner crashed and the NTSB discovered that it was because the pilot was playing games you wouldn't be defending the pilot with a comment like "define 'auto'?"

    I love all the automation I have in my car which allow for more relaxed and safer driving, but I understand that I'm still required to have situational awareness with those automated systems in place inside my automobile. Anything less is just asking to be a Darwin Award nominee.
    Turdla literally sells cars with something that they call "full self driving".

    Does that imply to you that a human driver still needs to be aware or present?

    The word "autopilot" isn't confusing to actual pilots, but it can be to the general public.  But if Cessna started selling "full self flying", I guarantee you that even a licensed pilot would expect that would be a fully automated aircraft.  I also guarantee the FAA wouldn't allow anything named that to be sold if it wasn't capable of full automation.
    The FAA requires far more training and requires pilots to actually exhibit intelligence, common sense and judgment prior to being licensed. As opposed to most ‘licensed’ drivers on the road. 
    watto_cobra9secondkox2tmayargonaut
  • Reply 14 of 29
    tobiantobian Posts: 152member
    Driving a car involves concentration, considerations and reactions. If we rely on an autonomous system, requiring only considerations, but skipping reactions, that's weakening our concentration. It actively makes us asleep by repeatingly telling our brain no reaction is needed. Also, we are loosing the feel of how car exactly reacts to steering a wheel and thus our reaction once in a while can be inaccurate.

    We shouldn't use autopilot at all, if it's not 100% reliable.
    ronn9secondkox2VictorMortimerjbdragon
  • Reply 15 of 29
    XedXed Posts: 2,653member
    tobian said:
    Driving a car involves concentration, considerations and reactions. If we rely on an autonomous system, requiring only considerations, but skipping reactions, that's weakening our concentration. It actively makes us asleep by repeatingly telling our brain no reaction is needed. Also, we are loosing the feel of how car exactly reacts to steering a wheel and thus our reaction once in a while can be inaccurate.

    We shouldn't use autopilot at all, if it's not 100% reliable.
    I don't think you thought your comment through... unless you want to defend how automated systems like airbags, antilock braking, traction control, blind spot warnings, lane guidance, cruise control, and adaptive cruise control have lead to less safe driving and more accidents because, as you put it, those make us actively asleep. I, for one, don't miss  having to quickly depress and release the brakes in quick succession to stop fast without locking up the brake, and I can't even imagine what it would be like to have an airbag button that I have to push the moment I'm in an accident.

    Of course, you'll say that you didn't mean those things and/or that they don't count (somehow), but the absolutely do. They are autonomous systems — denoting or performed by a device capable of operating without direct human control — that have prevented a great deal of damage and minimized the loss of life, even if it means that the younger generations will never understand how and why a brake can lock up and your vehicle to skid without functional control as a result.
  • Reply 16 of 29
    tobiantobian Posts: 152member
    Xed said:
    I don't think you thought your comment through... unless you want to defend how automated systems like airbags, antilock braking, traction control, blind spot warnings, lane guidance, cruise control, and adaptive cruise control have lead to less safe driving and more accidents because, as you put it, those make us actively asleep. I, for one, don't miss  having to quickly depress and release the brakes in quick succession to stop fast without locking up the brake, and I can't even imagine what it would be like to have an airbag button that I have to push the moment I'm in an accident.

    Of course, you'll say that you didn't mean those things and/or that they don't count (somehow), but the absolutely do. They are autonomous systems — denoting or performed by a device capable of operating without direct human control — that have prevented a great deal of damage and minimized the loss of life, even if it means that the younger generations will never understand how and why a brake can lock up and your vehicle to skid without functional control as a result.

    You're naming driving assistive features, not driving substitution. Of course we're not going to sleep, but play games instead, texting, making facetime calls, etc. ..Autopilot was always so unneed to intervene ,) It's soooooooo boring to supervise all the time, but having no joy of *driving* ,)
    ronn9secondkox2VictorMortimertmay
  • Reply 17 of 29
    XedXed Posts: 2,653member
    tobian said:
    Xed said:
    I don't think you thought your comment through... unless you want to defend how automated systems like airbags, antilock braking, traction control, blind spot warnings, lane guidance, cruise control, and adaptive cruise control have lead to less safe driving and more accidents because, as you put it, those make us actively asleep. I, for one, don't miss  having to quickly depress and release the brakes in quick succession to stop fast without locking up the brake, and I can't even imagine what it would be like to have an airbag button that I have to push the moment I'm in an accident.

    Of course, you'll say that you didn't mean those things and/or that they don't count (somehow), but the absolutely do. They are autonomous systems — denoting or performed by a device capable of operating without direct human control — that have prevented a great deal of damage and minimized the loss of life, even if it means that the younger generations will never understand how and why a brake can lock up and your vehicle to skid without functional control as a result.

    You're naming driving assistive features, not driving substitution. Of course we're not going to sleep, but play games instead, texting, making facetime calls, etc. ..Autopilot was always so unneed to intervene ,) It's soooooooo boring to supervise all the time, but having no joy of *driving* ,)
    I'm naming automation. You may have been cherry picking a specific one that you don't like or understand, but you can't make a blanket statement that autonomous system are inherently bad without repercussions for your myopic statement.

    Do you think those autonomous systems that I mentioned are bad for drivers or do you see the benefit of them for road safety? If you think that even one of them is a good then your stated premise is woefully inaccurate.
    edited April 6 9secondkox2
  • Reply 18 of 29
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,962member
    There’s a phenomenon in automation in which you initially see improvements in safety but then as you approach full automation you see a decline. This is because humans need a certain amount of cognitive stimulation to remain engaged and attentive. 

    In my experience using autopilot this hasn’t been an issue. It makes long drives on the freeway much more relaxing and enjoyable. The latest version of Tesla’s full self driving software has gotten decidedly mixed reviews with some people saying it’s horrible and others saying it’s awesome. For me it’s been near perfect and I can see how someone might become complacent. 
    ronntmaytobian
  • Reply 19 of 29
    Xed said:
    "the car maker believes that Autopilot is safe to use, and that it only becomes a danger when drivers are not paying attention to the road"
    Define 'auto'...?
    Would you use that simplistic answer also work for automobile? I'm guessing you wouldn't.

    On the one hand, fuck Tesla and Musk's lies about Autopilot's capabilities, but on the other, autopilot doesn't mean the driver doesn't have to be aware, present, etc. Airplanes have had autopilot for over a century and yet we're still not flying airplanes without pilots in them. Well, except for the drone category and those are controlled by a remote operator. I'm assuming that if a commercial airliner crashed and the NTSB discovered that it was because the pilot was playing games you wouldn't be defending the pilot with a comment like "define 'auto'?"

    I love all the automation I have in my car which allow for more relaxed and safer driving, but I understand that I'm still required to have situational awareness with those automated systems in place inside my automobile. Anything less is just asking to be a Darwin Award nominee.
    Turdla literally sells cars with something that they call "full self driving".

    Does that imply to you that a human driver still needs to be aware or present?

    The word "autopilot" isn't confusing to actual pilots, but it can be to the general public.  But if Cessna started selling "full self flying", I guarantee you that even a licensed pilot would expect that would be a fully automated aircraft.  I also guarantee the FAA wouldn't allow anything named that to be sold if it wasn't capable of full automation.
    We have had full self flying systems for years, I.e. Auto-land. Even when it’s a fully functional, non-touch system, the crew will always actively monitor and be prepared to take over in case of anomalies. In aviation it’s never about the functionality, it’s always about the potential for failure. 
    ronnMplsP9secondkox2argonaut
  • Reply 20 of 29
    davidwdavidw Posts: 2,073member
    Xed said:
    "the car maker believes that Autopilot is safe to use, and that it only becomes a danger when drivers are not paying attention to the road"
    Define 'auto'...?
    Would you use that simplistic answer also work for automobile? I'm guessing you wouldn't.

    On the one hand, fuck Tesla and Musk's lies about Autopilot's capabilities, but on the other, autopilot doesn't mean the driver doesn't have to be aware, present, etc. Airplanes have had autopilot for over a century and yet we're still not flying airplanes without pilots in them. Well, except for the drone category and those are controlled by a remote operator. I'm assuming that if a commercial airliner crashed and the NTSB discovered that it was because the pilot was playing games you wouldn't be defending the pilot with a comment like "define 'auto'?"

    I love all the automation I have in my car which allow for more relaxed and safer driving, but I understand that I'm still required to have situational awareness with those automated systems in place inside my automobile. Anything less is just asking to be a Darwin Award nominee.
    Turdla literally sells cars with something that they call "full self driving".

    Does that imply to you that a human driver still needs to be aware or present?

    The word "autopilot" isn't confusing to actual pilots, but it can be to the general public.  But if Cessna started selling "full self flying", I guarantee you that even a licensed pilot would expect that would be a fully automated aircraft.  I also guarantee the FAA wouldn't allow anything named that to be sold if it wasn't capable of full automation.

    And Tesla owners are not confused by the word "autopilot" (or shouldn't be), when it pertains to the car they own. It doesn't matter if the general public might be confused with the use of  word.

    Now if "autopilot" was a common feature in cars, like cruise control, then the used of the word "autopilot", might be confusing to the general public. Specially if one don't own a car with "autopilot" and were to rent or drive a friend car, that have the "autopilot" feature.

    But I'm willing to bet that not one Tesla owner is confused with the word "autopilot" and don't know the limitation of "autopilot", when they engaged it while driving their Tesla. I'm sure no where in the Tesla owner manual does it state that the car when on "autopilot", can drive from Point A to Point B without a human in the driver seat. And no Tesla owner should  think it can do this. Even if maybe you and me might think a Tesla should be able to do this because that's what "autopilot" means. 

    I'm sure Tesla is not advertising that a driver could eat their burger, soda and fries or take a nap or play a video game, while the Tesla drives itself to where you need to go, with "autopilot" engaged.  And yet there seems to be quite a few Tesla owners that think they could. These are the people that we need to be concern about, when it comes to not knowing (or caring) about the limitation of  "autopilot" in a car they own and drive. And not the general public, who might be confused with the word "autopilot" when used in both a Tesla and airplane. . 
    MplsPgatorguy9secondkox2
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