NEWS BRIEF: Tesla has been sued by the family of Walter Huang, an Apple engineer who died last year when the Model X autopilot drove him to a traffic barrier at Southbound 101 in Mountain View. # ABC7now pic.twitter.com/1cEql1vllc
– Dan Noyes (@dannoyes) May 1, 2019
At the time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk posted a blog post about the crash and revealed that "The driver had received several visual and audible warnings early in the drive and the driver's hands were not detected on the steering wheel for six seconds before for collision ". He also stated that autopilot "unequivocally makes the world safer for occupants of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists," and said the company was working with investigators to understand what happened. Huang's family members tell reporters he mentioned how his vehicle would divert toward the barrier while at Autopilot, and last year his brother said that Huang complained to the concessionaire Tesla about it.
When Model X hit the barrier, the collision was particularly severe because it lacked a "collision attenuator" that would normally be there to reduce the impact force due to a previous accident. All of this information was noted in a preliminary NTSB report on the accident, however, it has not been updated since last year. The report also notes that the car accelerated in the seconds before the crash, reaching the unprotected barrier at 70 km / h, breaking its battery and catching fire.
Since the crash, Tesla has updated its software reminding drivers to play the wheel more often and, ideally, remain vigilant even with Autopilot enabled. He continued to develop Autopilot technology and promised a Full Self-Driving package, which works by using radar and cameras without adding LiDAR technology that detects objects and which Musk calls "expensive and unnecessary." According to the CEO, Full Self-Driving will be available this year at Tesla with stand-alone taxis by 2020 and eventually cars without a steering wheel or pedal.