Last Year, An Apple Engineer Died While Driving His Tesla. Now, His Family Is Suing The Company
Photo Credit: NEW YORK, NY - JULY 05: A Tesla model S sits parked outside of a new Tesla showroom and service center in Red Hook, Brooklyn on July 5, 2016 in New York City. The electric car company and its CEO and founder Elon Musk have come under increasing scrutiny following a crash of one of its electric cars while using the controversial autopilot service. Joshua Brown crashed and died in Florida on May 7 in a Tesla car that was operating on autopilot, which means that Brown's hands were not on the steering wheel. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Last Year, An Apple Engineer Died While Driving His Tesla. Now, His Family Is Suing The Company

Self-driving cars are slowly becoming more of a reality, but there’s still a lot that needs to be worked out.

In March 2018, Apple engineer Wei Huang died in a crash after his Tesla Model X hit a median on Highway 101 in Mountain View, California. At the time, Huang’s Tesla was in Autopilot, a driver assistance feature that Tesla made standard in all its models. The feature is supposed to make drivers safer by doing things like matching a car’s speed to existing traffic and automatically changing lanes.

Now, Huang’s family has filed a lawsuit against both Tesla and the state of California, as reported by ABC 7 News. The lawsuit itself claims, “…the Tesla Model X was defective in its design, in that the passenger protection systems of the vehicle would not, could not, and did not perform in a manner as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect.”

Sevonne Huang — Wei Huang’s wife — told ABC 7 News that her husband had mentioned the car veered towards the same barrier on Autopilot multiples times before. He reportedly took the car to a dealer, but they weren’t able to address the issue.

A week after the crash, Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, published a blog post touting the safety of Autopilot and stressed that the company would be working to find out more information about the crash.

“The safety of our customers is our top priority, which is why we are working closely with investigators to understand what happened, and what we can do to prevent this from happening in the future,” Musk said.

The computer logs recovered from the vehicle provided more information about the crash as well.

“The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision,” the Musk said.

Since the crash, Tesla has updated its software to remind drivers to touch the wheel more often and remain attentive, even while Autopilot is engaged.