Tesla Settles Lawsuit Over Fatal Autopilot Crash

Walter Huang's Tesla veered into a concrete highway barrier in 2018
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 9, 2024 1:00 AM CDT
Tesla Settles Lawsuit Over 2018 Autopilot Death
FILE - The logo for a Tesla Supercharger station is seen in Buford, Ga, April 22, 2021.   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

Tesla has settled a lawsuit brought by the family of a Silicon Valley engineer who died in a crash while relying on the company's semi-autonomous driving software, the AP reports. The amount Tesla paid to settle the case was not disclosed in court documents filed Monday, just a day before the trial stemming from the 2018 crash on a San Francisco Bay Area highway was scheduled to begin. In a court filing requesting to keep the sum private, Tesla said it agreed to settle the case in order to "end years of litigation."

The family of Walter Huang filed a negligence and wrongful death lawsuit in 2019 seeking to hold Tesla—and, by extension, its CEO Elon Musk—liable for repeatedly exaggerating the capabilities of Tesla's self-driving car technology. They claimed the technology, dubbed Autopilot, was promoted in egregious ways that caused vehicle owners to believe they didn't have to remain vigilant while they were behind the wheel. Evidence indicated that Huang was playing a video game on his iPhone when he crashed into a concrete highway barrier on March 23, 2018. Tesla, which is based in Austin, Texas, prevailed last year in a Southern California trial focused on whether misperceptions about Tesla's Autopilot feature contributed to a driver in a 2019 crash involving one of the company's cars.

(More Tesla stories.)

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