Economy

Family of engineer killed in Tesla with Autopilot engaged sues automaker, DOT

Family of engineer killed in Tesla with Autopilot engaged sues automaker, DOT”

In a statement announcing the lawsuit, the family's lawyer, B. Mark Fong accused Tesla of "beta testing its Autopilot software on live drivers". Now, Huang's family has filed a lawsuit against the California-based automaker.

Huang's family members told reporters that he'd mention how his vehicle would swerve toward the barrier while on Autopilot, and past year his brother said Huang complained to the Tesla dealership about it, according to Engadget.

The lawsuit filed in a Santa Clara County says the autopilot navigation system caused the crash on Highway 101 that killed Walter Huang near Mountain View in Silicon Valley past year. Alleged Autopilot problems may also result in higher regulatory hurdles for the company as it attempts to roll out a fleet of self-driving taxis, something chief executive Elon Musk has said Tesla plans to introduce in coming years. He also brought the auto into a dealer, who initially failed to replicate the issue and told him to keep driving, Fong added. Instead, the company said he complained about a navigation problem, which is unrelated to Autopilot performance.

The family of a driver killed in the crash of a Tesla Model X driving on Autopilot filed a lawsuit April 26 against Tesla over the crash, Bloomberg reported. The plaintiffs' attorneys said the highway median was missing a crash guard that the state had failed to replace after an earlier crash.

"That system is not safe, is not something that should be released to the public and certainly should not be advertised as an Autopilot system", Fong added during the call with reporters.

The State of California Department of Transportation is also named as a defendant for failing to fix or restore a crash attenuator that had been damaged in a collision a week before Huang's crash. Such features are available on much less expensive vehicles from other carmakers, as well as on more recent Model Xs, Huang's family said.

Following the crash and amid an NTSB investigation, Tesla defended the safety of its vehicles and pointed out that Huang ignored warnings to keep his hands on the wheel and remain in control of the vehicle while Autopilot was engaged. The report showed that Huang had his hands off the steering wheel for the last six seconds prior to the crash and had held the wheel for 34 of the 60 seconds prior to the crash.

Tesla said the reason this crash was so severe is that the crash attenuator, a highway safety barrier which is created to reduce the impact into a concrete lane divider, had either been removed or crushed in a prior accident without being replaced.

The family argues Tesla and Caltrans are liable in Huang's death and are seeking medical and hospital, funeral and burial expenses and other compensation in California Superior court.



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