NEW YORK: The family of a California man killed in a Tesla has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company, blaming Tesla’s self-driving technology as “defective,” attorneys said Wednesday.
The lawsuit, filed on April 26 in California Superior Court, asserts that the March 2018 death of Walter Huang resulted from Tesla’s “Autopilot” technology.
The 38-year-old father of two died following a crash with two other cars after hitting a concrete median. Autopilot was engaged during the 32-minute trip, including the final 19 minutes of the voyage, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a June 2018 report.
“The lawsuit alleges Tesla’s Autopilot feature was defective and caused Huang’s death,” said a statement from attorneys representing the Huang family.
“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.”
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.
While its cars have Autopilot capabilities, people in the driver seats are called on to pay attention and be ready to take control of steering wheels.
Besides Tesla, the suit also names the California Department of Transportation. The plaintiffs’ attorneys said the highway median was missing a crash guard that the state had failed to replace after an earlier crash.