Hagens Berman Blog

Auto News: VW Another Cheat Device, Uber

by Hagens Berman


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Volkswagen’s Dieselgate software fix has another cheat device: German court

It appears that Volkswagen’s high-profile Dieselgate scandal won’t let go of the veteran German automaker just yet. In a recent decision, a district court in Düsseldorf, Germany has declared that Volkswagen’s software fix for vehicles affected by its Dieselgate emissions cheating scandal that broke in 2015 actually contained another cheating device.

With this development, the carmaker could face a new wave of claims from hundreds of thousands of car buyers whose vehicles were supposedly addressed by the Dieselgate software fix. This could also result in an equally large number of Volkswagen diesel owners receiving compensation over the company’s newly-discovered emissions manipulation efforts.

According to the findings of the Düsseldorf district court, Volkswagen’s Dieselgate software fix was intended to ensure that the emissions of vehicles affected by the scandal were appropriately controlled. Unfortunately, it turned out that the exhaust gas cleaning system in the update only worked at outside temperatures between 10-32 degrees Celsius. In the event that the weather falls below or above this range, the cleaning remains disabled, allowing the affected vehicles to overly-pollute as before. read more »

Uber Whistleblower: Autonomous Vehicles Need New Safety Metrics, Aren’t Really Any Safer

Over the past year the automotive industry has carefully walked back the expectations surrounding autonomous cars. Yet pretty much any change in rhetoric constitutes retracted goals. With numerous companies predicting self-driving fleets of commercial vehicles before 2021, the bar couldn’t have been set much higher.

A lack of progress is partly to blame. However, a bundle of high-profile accidents have also shaken public trust — especially after it was found that Uber whistleblower Robbie Miller was trying to alert the company to issues with its self-driving program just days before one of the company’s autonomous Volvos was involved in a fatal accident with a pedestrian.

That’s not the half of it. In April, Miller released a study claiming self-driving vehicles were actually recording incident rates higher than that of your typical motorist. Contrasting data from the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) and the California DMV, he concluded that autonomous test vehicles created more injuries per mile than the average human motorist with a few years of practice.

That’s not what we’re being sold. Automakers have repeatedly suggested that AV testing is a gateway to a safer world, with major breakthroughs close at hand. But Miller argued that focusing on the number of miles a manufacturer covers with its self-driving fleet doesn’t yield much more than reduced public safety. read more »