|A family in California sued Tesla Motors of negligence and wrongful death after the car crashed without warning despite Tesla put alert systems on it / Photo by: Tumbenhaur via Wikimedia Commons|
Not only does autopilot have an uphill battle to win the hearts of consumers, but it will also have to deal with lawsuits like this one, as a California family comes forward to sue Tesla for the Model X’s alleged inability to alert the driver of an oncoming crash, which turned out to be fatal.
According to reports from Car and Driver, the crash happened last year, on March 23, but it was only last week when the family of the deceased, Wei Lun “Walter” Huang, filed the suit in Santa Clara. They are citing “wrongful death and negligence” against Tesla, which they said has given Huang a defective Model X, which had ultimately been the cause of his death.
Although already a year in the making, the case was still under the investigation of the National Transportation Safety Board. The few information that circulated about the accident, though, more pointed to the fact that Huang may have also been an “inattentive driver.”
Evidence of this pointed to the fact that the report found that although Huang’s autopilot system was active and both the Autosteer and Traffic Aware Cruise Controls were on, they were actually engaged “four times during a 32-minute trip, including for one continuous stretch during the last 19 minutes before the crash.
“Huang was approaching a junction between Highways 101 and 85 and was in the left lane, at which point the lanes split. After the Model X no longer detected the car ahead of it, the Tesla veered left and accelerated back to Huang's set 75-mph speed, now heading straight for the barrier,” according to the NTSB preliminary report.
So what could have been the cause? As far as Huang’s family is concerned, it was the fact that Huang probably had the older Tesla model, which CEO Elon Musk himself said still required the driver to be ready to assume full control at any time.