The family of a man killed in a fiery Mess last year when driving his Tesla along U.S. route 101 in California is suing the electric Car Manufacturer, alleging wrongful death and negligence stemming from failures and false promises of its Autopilot driver-assistance system.
Walter Huang, a 38-year-old Apple engineer, was driving his Tesla Model X SUV at Mountain View, California on Autopilot style in March 2018 if it sped up to 71 miles and crashed into a safety barrier, killing Huang and leaving behind a heap of charred wreckage.
In a statement Wednesday, the family alleges that Autopilot was at fault. Tesla has been slowly raising the elegance of the driver-assistance system-and has promised”complete self-driving” capabilities because of its vehicles at the end of their year-but some critics say the Autopilot software provides drivers a false sense of safety.
“Mrs. Huang missing her husband, and two children lost their dad because Tesla is beta testing its Autopilot applications on live motorists,” B. Mark Fong, a partner at Minami Tamaki LLP, one of the companies representing the family, said in a statement. “The Huang family wants to help prevent this catastrophe from happening to other motorists using Tesla vehicles or any semi-autonomous vehicles”
Autopilot is a sophisticated driver-assistance system with features like traffic-aware cruise control and lane keeping support that are meant to keep the car at speed, keep a safe distance from visitors and follow road markers.
Huang”thought the 2017 Tesla Model X automobile was safer than a human-operated vehicle,” the complaint filed in court said. The suit accuses Tesla of defective product layout, intentional and negligent misrepresentation and false advertising, among other allegations.
“The navigation system of Huang’s Tesla misread the lane lines on the roadway, failed to detect the concrete median, also neglected to brake the car, but rather hastened the car into the median,” the announcement from attorneys said Wednesday.
The family is also suing the state of California, alleging the state department of transportation failed to substitute an accident attenuator guard after an accident of a Toyota Prius 11 days earlier, a part that would have improved absorbed the impact of the high-speed collision. Tesla attributed the severe damage, which it described as unprecedented for its Model Xto the absence of an attenuator guard.
Caltrans stated it does not comment on pending litigation.
The National Transportation Safety Board in June issued a preliminary report on the crash, concluding that the automobile was in Autopilot mode and Huang’s hands were discovered on the wheel three times, for 34 seconds total, in the second before the crash. Huang’s hands weren’t discovered in the last six seconds. Autopilot problems irregular warning signs to make sure drivers are paying attention, and the last such alert came more than 15 minutes before the crash, said NTSB.
The lawsuit further alleged that while Tesla promoted the Model X as”state-of-the-art,” it lacked an automated emergency braking system which might have prevented a crash to the highway barrier, even despite that technology already being set up on vehicles from other automakers, like Chrysler, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Subaru.
The family asserts Tesla and Caltrans are liable in Huang’s departure and are seeking medical and hospital, funeral and burial expenses and other compensation in California Superior court.