Tesla Sued Over Fatal Crash of Car in Autopilot Mode

Tesla Inc. has been sued by the family of a California man whose Tesla Model X crossover vehicle crashed into a highway barrier last year while the car was operating in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode.

The family of Walter Huang complains that Tesla touted the car as state-of-the-art, even though it lacked automatic emergency braking, which could have softened the crash. The family’s attorney asserts that Tesla has been “beta testing its Autopilot software on live drivers.”

Huang’s crash was one of a handful last year in which Tesla cars operating on highways under Autopilot control crashed into stationary vehicles or other objects. Reports at the time speculated that the system may have been confused when the vehicle it was following suddenly changed lanes, revealing a nonmoving object ahead.

The Huang lawsuit also names the California Dept. of Transportation as a defendant. The complaint says DOT failed to repair a crash cushion for the central median divider Huang hit. The cushion had been damaged a week earlier by a previous crash.