In a first, serious criminal charges have been filed against a Tesla Model S owner in the US for a deadly crash in 2019 that involved the vehicle’s advanced driver assist system called ‘Autopilot’.
The prosecutors in California have filed two felony charges against Kevin George Aziz Riad, 27, when he ran through a red light, slamming into a Honda Civic and killing two people, reports The Verge.
Riad faces two charges of vehicular manslaughter, according to charges filed with the California Superior Court, the report said late on Tuesday.
Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US opened an investigation into over a dozen incidents involving Tesla’s vehicles using Autopilot that crashed into stationary emergency vehicles.
According to reports, the criminal charges document does not mention Autopilot.
However, NHTSA had confirmed that the driver assist feature was active at the time of the incident.
US regulators have started to take some action against Tesla and its Autopilot and FSD beta software systems.
The US NHTSA is also investigating a report from the owner of a Tesla Model Y, who reported his vehicle went into the wrong lane while making a left turn in FSD mode, resulting in the vehicle being struck by another driver.
Meanwhile, a full-page advertisement in The New York Times by advocacy group The Dawn Project this week slammed Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving’ (FSD) beta software, calling it “the worst software ever sold by a Fortune 500 company”.
The ad was published as part of a campaign to remove Tesla’s FSD beta software from public roads until it has “1,000 times fewer critical malfunctions”.
“We did not sign up for our families to be crash test dummies for thousands of Tesla cars being driven on the public roads,” the ad read.
Priced at $12,000, the FSD software enables Tesla vehicles to virtually drive themselves both on highways and city streets by simply entering a location in the navigation system.
However, the software does not make Tesla vehicles fully autonomous.