Tesla’s Settles Autopilot Lawsuit Over Fatal Crash Involving Apple Engineer

Tesla has reached a settlement in a lawsuit stemming from a 2018 accident that resulted in the death of an Apple engineer. The incident occurred when Walter Huang’s Model X, which had Autopilot engaged, crashed into a roadside barrier off the highway near San Francisco.

The agreement ends a legal dispute that lasted for five years, and was finalized hours before the trial was set to begin on Monday. Details of the settlement have not been made public, Reuters reports.

Walter Huang was an Apple employee whose life was cut short in 2018 when his Tesla Model X was cruising at about 71 mph. According to an investigation by the National Transport Safety Board, Huang could have been playing a video game on his work phone at the time of the accident.

However, the investigation did not completely let Tesla off the hook as it pointed out Autopilot’s limitations.

Tesla had previously won two other Autopilot cases, with one involving a fatal casualty in California. The juries in those cases concluded the accidents were the fault of the drivers, instead of Tesla’s autonomous driving package.

The case centered on Huang’s alleged belief that his Tesla Model X was safer than human drivers. Huang’s widow and children were suing Tesla for the car’s failure to live up to expectations. According to the lawsuit, the Autopilot in Huang’s car malfunctioned and could not identify barriers where two highways merge.

The family was also accusing the Californian highway department of being liable for failing to repair the cushioned barrier after a previous crash. They contend Huang’s life would have been spared if the damage had been fixed before his car crashed into the barrier.

Tesla was contending that the fatal crash occurred because Huang misused Autopilot so he could play a video game behind the wheel.

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