Tesla Model X on Autopilot kills pedestrian outside Tokyo

Occurred: April 2018

Yoshihiro Umeda, a 44 year-old husband and father, died in April 2018 when a Tesla Model X with Autopilot turned on crashed into a group gathered at the site of an earlier motorcycle accident outside Tokyo.

A car in front of the Tesla changed lanes to avoid the group of bikers, but the Tesla driver was reputedly dozing and Autopilot failed to change lanes and accelerated until it hit the group.

Umeda's relatives filed (pdf) a lawsuit against Tesla in California's Northern District Court claiming that the company's Autopilot system is 'defective and incapable of handling common driving scenarios' and that its system for detecting drivers who aren't paying attention is 'fatally defective'. 

The judge sided with Tesla’s motion to dismiss, suggesting Japan is the most appropriate venue for the case based on 'forum non conveniens.' Forum non conveniens says that a US court can dismiss a case when another court may be better suited to hear it. 

The case has yet to to filed in Japan. The Tesla driver was officially sentenced to three years in prison and up to five years of suspension. 

Developer: Tesla
Country: Japan
Sector: Automotive
Purpose: Automate steering, acceleration, braking
Technology: Driver assistance system
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Safety
Transparency: Black box

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Type: Incident
Published: February 2023