The family of a California man, Walter Huang, who was killed in a Tesla electric vehicle (EV) have filed a lawsuit claiming wrongful death, blaming the automaker’s Autopilot functionality for the fatal crash.
Attorneys representing the family have called the technology “defective” in the lawsuit which has been filed in the California Superior Court.
The 38-year-old father of two died in March last year, following an accident with two other vehicles after hitting a concrete median. According to the US’ National Transportation Safety Board, Autopilot was engaged during the fatal 32-minute trip, including the final 19 minutes of the journey.
“The lawsuit alleges Tesla’s Autopilot feature was defective and caused Huang’s death,” said a statement from attorneys.
“The navigation system of Huang’s Tesla misread the lane lines on the roadway, failed to detect the concrete median and failed to slow the car, but instead accelerated the car into the median.”
At the time of writing, no comment had been received from Tesla, but the company has previously defended the technology, and noted that Huang’s hands were not detected on the wheel in the moments before the crash.
Tesla has also advised that whilst their vehicles have Autopilot capabilities, drivers are still called on to be attentive of their environment, ready to take over the controls if need be.
The news seemingly contradicts another story we just recently covered, in which another US-based Tesla driver praised the Autopilot functionality as being the sole reason his family escaped a potentially fatal crash.
Tesla, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment, has previously defended its technology, noting that Huang’s hands were not detected on the wheel just before the crash.
It appears its not just Tesla that are being blamed. The suit also names the California Department of Transportation which it says had failed to replace a crash guard at the median hit in the crash following an earlier incident.