Apple engineer killed in fatal Model X crash results in Tesla settling lawsuit

Apple engineer, fatal, lawsuit, Model X crash, Tesla

In 2019, the family of Apple engineer Wei Lun Huang, also known as Walter Huang, filed a lawsuit against Tesla after he died in a crash involving a Tesla Model X on Autopilot mode. The case has now been settled by Tesla on the same day that jury selection was scheduled to take place. The specific amount paid by Tesla in the settlement has been kept confidential, as the company requested the court to seal the agreement. Tesla did not want the settlement amount to be perceived as an indication of its liability in future cases.

Following the accident, Tesla confirmed that Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash. However, the company maintained that Huang had enough time to react and had an unobstructed view of the barrier he crashed into. Tesla stated that Huang was at fault for not paying attention to the road, despite the car providing multiple warnings. Huang’s lawyers, on the other hand, pointed to Tesla’s Autopilot marketing materials, which appeared to suggest that the cars were safe for use without the driver’s hands on the wheel at all times.

The incident gained the attention of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which conducted an investigation. The NTSB found that Huang had previously reported instances of the car veering away from the highway, and he had complained about the car swerving towards the same barrier he ultimately crashed into. The family had even reported the issue to the Tesla dealership, but it could not replicate the problem. The NTSB also concluded that Tesla’s collision warning system did not alert Huang, and the emergency braking system did not activate as it should have when the car approached the barrier.

Interestingly, the NTSB also discovered that Huang was playing a mobile game on his phone at the time of the accident. However, it was unable to determine if the phone was in his hands when the crash occurred. The New York Times reported that Tesla was prepared to present evidence to the court that Huang was indeed playing a game during the crash.

Settling the lawsuit has put an end to the ongoing case and avoids the possibility of a trial that would bring renewed attention to the safety of Tesla’s Autopilot system. The settlement comes just a few months before Tesla is set to unveil its own robotaxi on August 8.

It is important to note that the information provided in this article is based on available reports and speculations. The exact details surrounding the crash and the settlement agreement may differ from what has been reported.

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