- The family of an Apple engineer who died when his Tesla crashed last year is suing the automaker.
- The suit alleges that the car, which was in Autopilot mode at the time of the crash, was “defective in its design.”
- It comes at a sensitive moment for Tesla: Last month CEO Elon Musk revealed his grand ambitions for Tesla’s self-driving tech.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The family of Apple engineer Walter Huang, who died in March 2018 when his Tesla Model X crashed on a California highway, is suing Tesla.
Huang’s Model X was in Autopilot mode when it crashed into a barrier on Highway 101, in Mountain View, causing the car’s battery to erupt into flames.
The National Transportation Safety Board reported that the car had accelerated from 62 to 70 mph within 4 seconds before the crash.
BREAKING NEWS: Tesla hit with lawsuit by family of Walter Huang, Apple Engineer who died last year when autopilot in Model X steered him into a traffic barrier Southbound 101 in Mountain View. #ABC7now pic.twitter.com/1cEql1vllc
— Dan Noyes (@dannoyes) May 1, 2019
ABC7’s Dan Noyes obtained a copy of the lawsuit, which alleges that the car was “defective in its design.” Huang’s wife, Sevonne, told Noyes that her husband had complained several times that the car had veered toward that same barrier.
Tesla was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Business Insider.
Tesla published a blog post shortly after the crash, saying that Huang had “received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive.”
The family’s suit also alleges that the barrier that Huang crashed into was unsafe as the safety cushion – or “crash attenuator” – had been damaged in a previous accident and had not been replaced. Tesla said the defective attenuator was the reason the crash was “so severe.”
This suit comes at a sensitive time for Tesla as CEO Elon Musk has been vaunting the automaker’s Autopilot features, promising a fully automated fleet of taxis by 2020.
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