tesla crash

Photo credit: Yao Ko

Family Of Man Killed In Mountain View Crash Sues Tesla, Caltrans

Matt Bigler
May 01, 2019 - 11:15 am

The family of an Apple engineer who died in a fiery crash on Highway 101 last year sued Tesla and California transportation officials for the fatal collision. 

Walter Huang, 38, was using the autopilot mode of his Tesla X SUV when it slammed into a safety median along the freeway in Mountain View, bursting into flames. He later died at a hospital. 

The lawsuit filed by his family on April 26 claims Tesla 's autopilot feature was defective and led to Huang's death. 

The Huang family is also suing Caltrans for failing to replace a missing guardrail around the median, saying had it been there, it may have lessened the severity of the crash. 

Last year, CBS News' Gayle King spoke with Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk about the autopilot feature  and the role it may have played in the crash, asking him whether there was some sort of defect in the system. 

Related: Elon Musk Promises "Fully Autonomous" Teslas This Year

"The system worked as described," Musk replied. "Which is that it's a hands-on system, it is not a self-driving system." 

Musk went on to say that while nothing in the real world is perfect, he believes that long term, the autopilot system could reduce the chance of accidents and their accompanying deaths and injuries by a factor of ten. 

Last week, Musk announced that Tesla had made significant improvements in automatic driving technology, including a new computer designed specifically for autonomous vehicles. The plan is to have fully self-driving Teslas on the road as early as next year. 

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