The trial set to start hours before the settlement was reached

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1st Gear: Tesla Settle Autopilot Suit On Eve Of Trial Tesla reached a settlement with the family of a killed Apple engineer on the evening before its highest-profile Autopilot crash trial was set to take place.
“This is an important data point,” said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina law professor and automated-driving expert.
“At this point everybody already had their script — it’s just kind of doing the math,” he said.
The Austin, Texas-based automaker is facing increased regulatory scrutiny over both its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving driver assist programs.
In May 2022, he announced that Tesla was building a “hardcore litigation department” that would initiate and execute lawsuits.
“All major car ports” were struggling with congestion, the port added, without specifying the origin of the vehicles.
“Chinese EV makers are using ports like car parks,” said one car supply chain manager.
Cruise spokesman Pat Morrissey said in an email that the company “had not set a timeline for deployment.


This is The Morning Shift, your daily summary of the most important car news from across the globe, all in one location. It’s Tuesday, April 9, 2024. Good morning. These are the tales that are essential to be aware of.

First Gear: Tesla Adjusts Autopilot Suit On Trial Eve.

On the eve of its most publicized Autopilot crash trial, Tesla reached a settlement with the family of a deceased Apple engineer. The terms of the settlement were not made public in documents filed on April 8 in state court in San Jose, California. From Bloomberg:.

Walter Huang, an Apple Inc. employee of 38 years old, was at the center of the case. engineer who died in 2018 after his Model X went off the highway and struck a roadside barrier at a speed of roughly 71 miles per hour (114 kilometers per hour) while traveling to work. Huang was likely sidetracked by an iPhone game app, according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation, which also identified “limitations” in the Autopilot system.

Driver error, not the company’s technology, was found to be the cause of the accidents in both of the previous Californian trials in which the maker of electric vehicles prevailed. Every trial to be conducted in the upcoming months in Florida and California conflicts with Elon Musk’s claim that Teslas are the safest vehicles ever produced.

Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina and an authority on automated driving, called this “an important data point.”. “It tells the story of a company that is not publicly invincible, but it does not guarantee future outcomes.”. “.

Even though he acknowledged that cases are frequently settled the night before a trial, he found it surprising that Tesla settled this particular case.

“Everyone already had their script at this point; the math is just kind of involved,” he remarked. “I believe all parties considered their options, and Tesla concluded that a public settlement was better than the risk of a legal setback. “.

Both current and former Tesla engineers would have testified during the trial.

The driver assist programs of the Austin, Texas-based automaker, Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, are coming under more regulatory scrutiny. At the close of the previous year, Tesla conducted an over-the-air software update recall affecting more than two million cars after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that Autopilot was not sufficiently deterrent to user abuse.

According to Tesla’s website, Autopilot is a sophisticated system that improves both convenience and safety when driving. According to the manufacturer, Autopilot allows its cars to steer, accelerate, and brake on their own, but the features of the system necessitate “active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”. “.

Executive Chairman of Tesla Elon Musk has always pursued legal matters aggressively. He declared in May 2022 that Tesla was constructing a “hardcore litigation department” that would file and carry out lawsuits. The Austin-based business has a well-established record of going above and beyond in legal defense.

In addition to blaming Tesla, the Huangs said that the California Department of Transportation was partially at fault for not repairing the barrier that had recently been damaged in another collision. They claimed that if it had been fixed, Walter Huang might still be alive today because it would have absorbed some of the force from the Model X crash.

Musk declared on Twitter in 2022 that Tesla would never “surrender/settle an unjust case against us.”. With this most recent settlement, it appears that his tune has slightly changed.

Second Gear: European ports see a backlog of vehicle imports.

European ports are becoming “car parks” due to the massive influx of imported vehicles. The slowdown in auto sales and the logistical obstacles that make it difficult to reduce the inventory of new, unsold cars are causing automakers and distributors to struggle. This is from the Financial Times:.

Executives from the port and automobile industries have identified a backlog of Chinese electric vehicles as one of the main sources of the issue, with some businesses scheduling shipping delivery windows without arranging for additional transportation. Other cases include the general auto industry finding it difficult to order trucks due to a shortage of drivers and tools to move the cars along.

“More and more auto distributors are utilizing the port’s parking lots as depots. The Port of Antwerp-Bruges, whose port at Zeebrugge is Europe’s busiest port for car imports, stated that cars are picked up at the car terminal rather than being stocked at the dealers. Without mentioning where the cars were coming from, the port stated that “all major car ports” were experiencing traffic jams.

According to some executives in the auto industry, a significant portion of the glut at the ports in the region is caused by Chinese automakers’ slower than anticipated sales of their vehicles in Europe.

One automotive supply chain manager claimed, “Chinese EV makers are using ports like car parks.”.

Industry executives claimed that some Chinese-brand electric vehicles had been sitting in European ports for as long as eighteen months, and that some ports had requested proof of onward transport from importers. Until they were sold to distributors or end users, many of the unloaded cars were just remaining in the ports, according to an expert in auto logistics.

Another person who had been informed of the situation stated, “It’s chaos.”.

Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers are finding it challenging to ship their products inland into European markets, according to Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association, who spoke with FT.

The speaker emphasized the need for brands to enhance their “after sale” services and stated that the current export of cars in a guerrilla warlike manner is unfavorable. “.

German federal government subsidies for electric vehicle purchases ended in December of last year, according to BLG Logistics, the operator of the car-handling terminal at the second-busiest port in Europe, the port of Bremerhaven. BLG Logistics reported longer dwell times at its facilities.

In order to maintain operations at their factories in China and to take advantage of the European market’s desire for electric vehicles, several Chinese automakers, including BYD, Great Wall, Chery, and SAIC, are planning an export push. This is the reason behind the congestion at car terminals.

He continued, stressing that companies must enhance their “after sale” offerings: “[We need to] change the guerrilla warlike car exports, which will throw ourselves into an unfavorable situation. “.

The business that runs the car-handling terminal at the second-busiest port in Europe, the German port of Bremerhaven, BLG Logistics, reported that it had seen longer dwell times at its facilities following the federal government of Germany’s decision to stop subsidizing the purchase of electric vehicles in December of last year.

Car terminal congestion coincides with the plans of numerous Chinese automakers, including BYD, Great Wall, Chery, and SAIC, to expand their exports to Europe in order to sustain their operations in China and capitalize on the region’s growing demand for electric vehicles.

It’s been reported that many Chinese automakers are overcoming actual logistical challenges and assembling teams from scratch in Europe. Due to their lack of experience in the industry, they have also had trouble finding haulage companies to give priority to their cars. One respondent told the outlet that there is a “very common problem” with the “lack of trucks.”. “.

Third Gear: The New Acura Crossover Is Going to Be Small.

The ADX is the new subcompact crossover from Acura. It will be the fourth crossover in the Japanese carmaker’s lineup when it launches later this year, following the small RDX in the lineup.

For Acura and its dealers, this appears to be a long time in the making. According to Automotive News:.

Dealers have been wishing for a smaller crossover, according to Automotive News interview with Brian Benstock, chairman of the Acura National Dealer Advisory Board.

Benstock stated, “It’s about time.”. We believe that this is a growing and excellent segment. It will significantly improve our capacity to grow the brand’s volume. “.

American Honda announced this year that it will expand Acura’s U.S. lineup to include an entry-level gasoline-powered crossover. s. lineup for 2024, but only the size was mentioned.

According to Benstock, Acura did not say if it intended to convert the ADX into an electric car.

When it comes to that, they are holding their cards close to the vest, but eventually, everything will become an EV. And we’re excited about it,” he remarked.

Further Acura news: the manufacturer allegedly alluded to the possibility of an electric three-row midsize MDX crossover being produced in the future, but it gave no specific date.

Hear me out: I have no problem with these cars as long as they aren’t just General Motors vehicles with an Acura emblem sewn on the steering wheel.

Fourth Gear: Cruise Robotaxis from GM is back in Phoenix.

Resuming safety driver testing in Phoenix, Arizona, is a major undertaking for General Motors’ much-lauded Cruise robotaxi business. It’s a significant step in the carmaker’s efforts to start operating again following the 2023 grounding of its fleet. From Bloomberg:.

According to two people with knowledge of the situation, the company may announce and start the testing as early as this Tuesday. Cruise has held discussions in the past few months with representatives from 20 major cities where it has either operated cars or begun mapping in order to do so. One of the people, who wished to remain anonymous because the plan isn’t known, claimed that Phoenix is a good place to start because Cruise already has cars there and local officials are receptive to the idea of its return.

In an email, Cruise representative Pat Morrissey stated that the company “had not set a timeline for deployment.”. To gather data, provide updates, and reestablish confidence, we are currently meeting with representatives from a few markets. “.

For GM CEO Mary Barra, who has committed to leading the automaker in electric vehicles and self-driving technology during her tenure, getting Cruise back on the road is crucial. Her ambition to double revenue to $280 billion by 2030 was expected to include the robotaxi business as a major component. This target appears more difficult to achieve given Cruise’s issues and the deceleration in the growth of EV sales.

In the aftermath of one of its vehicles striking and dragging a pedestrian in San Francisco in October, the robotaxi company has been trying to regain the public’s trust. Following the incident, California regulators claimed that Cruise had originally concealed important video and incident details, which led to the eventual suspension of Cruise’s California license.

Following that, Cruise ceased all operations across the country, accepted the resignation of its founder and former CEO, Kyle Vogt, fired nine senior executives, and laid off 25% of its staff. Later, a new chief safety officer was employed by the organization.

Cruise was already charging fairs in San Francisco, Austin, and Phoenix when the October incident occurred. In addition, the business was compiling information in anticipation of a potential nationwide launch. s. It was intended to make its way into Raleigh, Atlanta, Seattle, and Miami.

For Cruise, this will mark the beginning of a protracted road to recovery. I just hope that in the process of replacing taxi drivers, nobody else gets hurt.

In reverse: My father was born.

No: This Is Not A Genuine Land Cruiser.

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