Tesla CEO Elon Musk might be ordered to testify under oath in a lawsuit that blames Autopilot, Tesla’s advanced driver assistance system, for a fatal crash in 2018.
The tentative ruling, issued by a California judge Wednesday and first reported on by Reuters, came in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Walter Huang against Tesla over a crash that killed the Apple engineer.
The plaintiff attorneys want to bring Musk to court to testify on recorded statements the billionaire executive made about the capabilities of Autopilot.
Musk had previously tweeted a 2016 promotional video for Autopilot as evidence that Tesla “drives itself” with “no human input at all.” In January, Ashok Elluswamy, director of Autopilot software at Tesla, testified that the video was staged using 3D mapping on a predetermined route, rather than relying on cameras, sensors and onboard compute power to actually drive autonomously.
Huang’s family argue that the deceased over-relied on the partially automated driving software, which failed him in the end. Tesla claims that Huang was playing a video game on his phone before the crash and didn’t pay attention to vehicle warnings.
A hearing was set for Thursday on whether to depose Musk.
Reuters reports that Musk will likely be questioned about a 2016 statement cited by plaintiffs in which he allegedly said: “A Model S and Model X, at this point, can drive autonomously with greater safety than a person. Right now.”
Tesla’s lawyers have opposed the request in court filings. They said Musk can’t recall the details of statements plaintiffs want to question him on, and that he is often the subject of “deepfake” videos, according to Reuters.
Elon Musk will likely testify about his Autopilot statements by Rebecca Bellan originally published on TechCrunch