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Silicon Valley comes to Detroit: Tesla, Autopilot, and the lawyers

Electrek reports that Hagens Berman, a Seattle-based law firm, may be attempting to start a class action lawsuit against Tesla for autonomous driving features. Hagens Berman is one of the law firms leading a class action lawsuit against Volkswagen and Mercedes for emissions-cheating software.

According to the report, Tesla would be targeted over claims made for Autopilot 2.0 features: Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving capabilities. Reporter Fred Lambert points out, however, that the lawyers fail to note clear disclaimers by the carmaker.

Beyond the ramifications the case may take, one thing is obvious: Silicon Valley is “encroaching” on Detroit’s fiefdom. A class action lawsuit is generally a major setback for traditional carmakers, like the Detroit three or the German companies at the center of the emissions scandal. But for the technological companies, litigation in court comes with the territory. Just witness the ping-pong of lawsuits over patents between Apple and Samsung.

Not much is known about any potential lawsuit against Tesla over Autopilot. The very young company has made tremendous strides on what appears to be the future of the industry. Would it be fair to assume that old school carmakers are getting nervous?

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