A Tesla Model X owner in Germany claimed that the Autopilot technology on her new EV wasn't functioning properly. Now, a court has ruled that Tesla has to pay her back nearly €112,000 (approx. £95,000).
The court in Munich put the Tesla Model X through a technical analysis to determine if there were any obvious issues. More specifically, the car was tested on German roads to see how Autopilot handled situations that the owner had concerns over.
The testing revealed that the Model X was unable to properly navigate various obstacles, narrowing roads, and construction zones. It also had issues with phantom braking. According to the court's ruling, as reported by Der Speigel, the problems with the technology could cause a "massive hazard" in heavily populated areas.
That said, the current iteration of Tesla's Autopilot technology isn't designed or intended to be used in heavily populated areas. Instead, it's for motorway driving. However, the court noted that a driver shouldn't be responsible for remembering to turn the features on and off on various roads. It said the action of activating and deactivating Autopilot could distract the driver.
Tesla is working on technology that's usable on city streets. In fact, that's the main focus of its Full Self-Driving technology. Currently, Autopilot comes standard in all Tesla's vehicles, and it's essentially a suite of advanced driver-assist systems, much like the bundles found standard on an increasing number of cars. Basic Autopilot pairs adaptive cruise control with a lane-keeping system.
In order for Tesla owners to get more advanced Autopilot features, they have to pay to upgrade to Enhanced Autopilot or Tesla's Full Self-Driving Capability, the latter of which is still in beta form and currently unavailable in Europe. Tesla claims it plans to launch its FSD Beta programme in Europe eventually, though CEO Elon Musk has made it clear that it's going to be a challenge.
It's important to note that earlier this year a court ruled that Tesla must buy back an owner's Model 3 after concerns that the car's "self-driving" features didn't work as advertised.