Tesla Settles Lawsuit Over SF Car Crash That Led to Man’s Death

According to reports, a Silicon Valley engineer’s family sued Tesla after a man died in a mishap while using the company’s semi-autonomous driving software.

Tesla has resolved the case.

Court papers submitted on Monday, the day before the trial arising from the 2018 collision on a highway in the San Francisco Bay Area, which was supposed to begin, did not show the settlement amount.

Walter Huang (38) dropped off his son at preschool and used his Model X’s Autopilot function to drive himself to work at Apple. The car was driving safely until Autopilot abruptly changed lanes and started to speed up to 70 mph, sending it careening into a barrier at a dangerous crossroads on a Mountain View, California highway.

Walter Huang’s family sued Tesla and Elon Musk, the company’s CEO, in 2019 for wrongful death and negligence because they claimed Tesla’s self-driving vehicle technology could do more than it really could. They said the Autopilot system was advertised to lead drivers to believe they didn’t need to pay attention to the road.

When Huang struck a concrete barricade on March 23, 2018, the evidence showed him playing video games on his iPhone.

A number of cases like this one have been popping up throughout the US, and they’re causing some to wonder whether Musk’s claims about how great Tesla’s autonomous technology is are leading people astray.

Full Self-Driving is an optional capability that the company offers. Regulatory documents from last year revealed that the U.S. Justice Department had initiated an investigation into how Tesla and Musk market their autonomous technology.  However, these filings offered little specifics on the scope of the investigation.

Tesla won a case last year in Southern California in a trial regarding whether a driver’s misunderstanding of Tesla’s Autopilot function contributed to a 2019 accident with one of the brand’s vehicles.