Tesla sued after yet another Autopilot-related crash

By Vignesh Giridharan | Updated May 03 2019
Tesla sued after yet another Autopilot-related crash
HIGHLIGHTS

Tesla sued by the family of an Apple engineer named Wei "Walter" Huang after his fatal crash in a Model X

The family claims Tesla cars lack properly functioning onboard active safety systems

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Penetrating the automotive market with a new piece of technology like the Tesla Autopilot is bound to be challenging for the first few years or even decades. In what appears to be the aftermath of yet another Tesla Autopilot-related car crash, the family of Wei "Walter" Huang—a 38-year-old Apple engineer in California who died in the crash—is suing Tesla for lack of onboard active safety systems on its cars and failing to act despite being aware of the cars’ shortcomings.

According to a recent report by Bloomberg, the case against Tesla was filed a couple of days after another driver in California sued the Elon Musk-led company for defects in the “driverless” steering and braking system of his Model S, which had “nearly” killed him. Huang’s family’s complaint too was similar in nature. The family claimed that the car lacked a properly functioning automatic emergency braking system.

The model Huang was driving was a 2017 Model X. The fatal accident occurred when the car reportedly malfunctioned and drove right into a concrete road barrier. According to Huang’s family’s complaint against Tesla, the company ought to have known that the “Model X was likely to cause injury to its occupants by leaving travel lanes and striking fixed objects when used in a reasonably foreseeable manner.” Tesla did not send a statement of response—rather, it updated its blog post on the reliability of its Autopilot system.

Tesla is convinced that the safety level of autonomous cars is ten times higher than that of non-autonomous cars. Just last month, the electric car maker announced a new self-driving chip for all its new and existing models. It claims that its new Full Self-Driving Computer offers 21 times better performance than the NVIDIA chips it used on its cars previously. Tesla also announced its plan to introduce a self-driving taxi fleet, or “Robotaxi” fleet, sometime next year.

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Vignesh Giridharan

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