Elon Musk may have to give three hours of testimony in a trial over a 2018 Tesla crash involving an autopilot, reports Engadget.
The billionaire was ordered to do it by Judge Evette Pennypacker. He may have to answer questions about the accident in which Apple engineer Walter Huang died when his Model X flew into the middle of a highway south of San Francisco.
The lawyers of the victim’s family want to question Musk about his statements about the autopilot’s capabilities he had made before the incident. The plaintiffs point to a 2016 interview in which Musk said that Tesla autopilot cars can already drive with greater safety than humans.
They are also concerned about a demonstration video from the same year about self-driving cars. According to engineers, it was staged to demonstrate features that were not yet ready. In this way, the lawyers want to show that Huang was falsely misled into believing that he could trust his Model X to drive on the highway without being prepared to take over.
Tesla claims that the autopilot was engaged during the accident, but Huang ignored three warnings from the car to put his hands on the wheel. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says the driver was playing on his phone at the time.
Tesla also tried to convince the judge that Musk does not remember related statements, and that his popularity could lead to the creation of fake videos based on artificial intelligence. However, the judge rejected this argument. The trial is scheduled for July 31.
Earlier, Tesla announced that supply of its electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2023 amounted to 422,875 units, including 412,180 Model 3 and Y and 10,695 Model S and X. This is a record figure for Tesla, which is 36% higher than the results of the first quarter of 2022 and 4% higher than the previous quarter.