Tesla Settles Major Lawsuit Blaming Autopilot For Death of Apple Engineer

The lawsuit blamed Tesla for wrongfully marketing its Autopilot safety and technology capabilities on the Model X

In a dramatic turn of events, Tesla has settled a trial outside of court, involving the crash of an Apple engineer in his Tesla Model X in California back in 2018. The trial was based on a complaint by the family of the deceased blaming Tesla’s Autopilot for failing to live up to its claims of driver-assistance and safety technology in Tesla cars.

The out-of-court settlement comes just as the proceedings for the trial were about to commence. As mentioned in the court documents and quoted by several media reports, Tesla has requested to keep the settlement amount under a veil.

The trial revolves around the death of a 38-year-old Apple engineer named Walter Huang, back in March 2018. As per the lawsuit filed by his family, Huang was driving his Tesla Model X on Autopilot on a highway in Mountain View, California, when his car slipped off the road and drove into a concrete median, fatally injuring him. Further investigations into the matter revealed that Huang was driving at a speed of approximately 114 kmph and that he may have been distracted by a video game on his phone, while completely relying on Tesla’s Autopilot system to drive the car.

In the lawsuit filed following his death, Huang’s family argued that Tesla was careless in the way it built and marketed the 2017 Model X and its Autopilot driver assistance system. However, investigations found that Huang did not have his hands on the steering wheel at the time of the accident. Tesla has repeatedly maintained its stance that the Autopilot does not free the driver from paying attention on the road and keeping their hands on the steering wheel. For this, the Autopilot system even gives repeated warnings to the drivers who take their hands off the wheel. Investigations confirmed that such was the case with Huang as well.

It should be noted that Tesla has emerged victorious in previous such trials in California, both of which were blamed on the drivers’ fault instead of Tesla’s Autopilot. While Tesla has repeatedly managed to avoid critical allegations on its Autopilot’s working, such accidents prove that the days of truly self-driving Tesla cars, as Musk had promised from the start, are still far.