Hagens Berman Blog

Auto News: Fiat Chrysler, Tesla Self-Driving Cars, NHTSA

by Hagens Berman

01/09/2019

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Fiat Chrysler Reportedly Nears Deal To End U.S. Diesel-Rigging Criminal Probe

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is nearing a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department that would end a two-year criminal investigation into whether it knowingly sold diesel vehicles that violated clean-air rules, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter.

The resolution would include a financial penalty in line with Fiat Chrysler's guidance to investors. The company is also getting closer to settling related civil litigation over diesel-rigging allegations, the report said. Fiat Chrysler set aside $810 million in October for expenses related to all diesel probes. read more »

Tesla warns ‘self-driving package’ buyers that activation is ‘very far away’ due to regulations

While Elon Musk has been guiding self-driving capabilities by the end of the year, Tesla has been taking a more cautious approach.

Tesla salespeople have been warning buyers of their ‘Full Self-Driving package’ that it could be “very far away” due to regulations.

A few months ago, Tesla removed its ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ package from its options due to ‘confusion’.

The option itself was controversial from the beginning when it was introduced with the Autopilot 2.0 hardware in 2016.

At the time, Tesla said that it would release self-driving capability through over-the-air updates after validating the software and having regulatory approval.

Of course, more than two years later and that has yet to happen, but Tesla has always claimed that it is still in the works. read more »

'Danger to the public': Car safety investigations on hold amid federal government shutdown

The agency responsible for investigating defects in the nation's cars, trucks and SUVs does not plan to do so during the government shutdown. It's the latest in a growing list of impacts caused by a political test of wills between President Donald Trump and Congressional Democrats over funding for a border wall.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed its investigators will be not be performing some key tasks, including defect investigations.

In December, NHTSA had 13 active defect investigations, including upper steering column separations in 2008-13 Toyota Highlanders, power steering failures in 2010 Ford Fusions and spontaneous sunroof breakage in 2011-13 Kia Sorentos. Based on the response from NHTSA, it would appear those investigations are suspended.

Vehicle defects can describe a wide range of problems, from the mundane to the serious. Issues such as exploding Takata air bags — one of NHTSA's open investigations in December — and the General Motors ignition switch scandal have been blamed for scores of fatalities and injuries around the world. read more »

Family Sues Tesla Over Fatal Crash, Alleging Defective Battery

Tesla is being sued by the family of Edgar Monserratt Martinez, a passenger who died in a 116 mph crash involving a 2014 Tesla S sedan.

The suit alleges that the sedan’s battery pack was defective and dangerous and that Tesla was negligent in removing a speed limiter.

The car in question belonged to James and Jenny Riley, whose son Barrett was driving at the time of the crash and also died. The Rileys had installed a device that limited the car’s top speed to 85 mph after Barrett got a speeding ticket for driving at 112 mph. However, the lawsuit alleges that a Tesla service center later removed the device without their permission or knowledge. read more »

Self-driving Tesla hits, damages humanoid robot

Oh, the humanity. Or, inhumanity in this case.

Chalk up another instance of a self-driving car hitting a pedestrian. Well, not a human, thankfully. This time, it was a robot.

Not to diminish the carnage: It was probably a big deal for the robot — and for Promobot, the company that paid to put the humanoid robot together.

It all went down Sunday in Las Vegas as the latest Consumer Electronics Show was getting set to begin its three-day convention of all things technological.

Promobot told The Daily Mail that it was transporting its robots, which rent for $2,000 a day, to the company's display booth at the convention center.

That's when a Tesla Model S, in "autonomous mode" came driving along. read more »