A California family is suing Tesla for wrongful death and negligence, alleging a defective Autopilot system was to blame for the death of their loved one. The driver of the 2017 Tesla Model X P100D, Wei Lun “Walter” Huang, crashed head-on into a barrier at 71 mph on March 23, 2018, on Highway 101 in Mountain View, California. He was an engineer for Apple.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Huang had been using Tesla’s Autosteer and Traffic Aware Cruise Control four times during a 32-minute trip, including for one continuous stretch during the last 19 minutes prior to the crash.
Huang was approaching a junction between Highways 101 and 85 and was in the left lane, at which point the lanes split. After the Model X no longer detected the car ahead of it, the Tesla veered left and accelerated back to Huang’s set 75-mph speed, now heading straight for the barrier, according to the NTSB preliminary report.
The car’s sensors reveal that Huang was not holding the steering wheel for six seconds before impact. The lawsuit claims the Autopilot system should have kept Huang’s car in the lane, alerted him of the imminent crash, and engaged forward emergency braking. None of which occurred, according to the lawsuit.
It is still unclear what software version Huang’s car had at the time of the crash, as the investigation is still ongoing. The lawsuit is also charging the State of California with failure to repair the barrier prior to the crash. Tesla, this week introduced new safety features in a software update that includes lane-keeping assist that operates without the Autopilot engaged.
Currently, Tesla vehicles are being used by tens of thousands of people and more lives could be at risk. Automakers putting profits ahead of consumer safety is unacceptable. If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective Tesla autopilot system, or any other type of automobile defect – you have legal rights. Auto manufactures have a duty to consumers to properly test these new technologies before they are put on the road. Failure to do so makes them liable for injuries or fatalities resulting from the same.
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