Walter Huang was driving a Tesla Model X on Highway 101 in Mountain View, California, near Tesla's headquarters, when his vehicle went out of a lane and hit the center divider at around 70 mph before bursting into flames. His parents, wife and their attorney maintain it was the Autopilot that was responsible for the fatal crash.
"Tesla is beta testing its Autopilot software on live drivers,” the family attorney said in a statement to Bloomberg following the filing April 26 in California Superior Court. "The Huang family wants to help prevent this tragedy from happening to other drivers using Tesla vehicles or any semi-autonomous vehicles."
The California automaker has been criticized sharply for using the phrase, "self-driving," while CEO Elon Musk has also drawn ire for demonstrating Autopilot in a way the company doesn't even endorse. Yet Musk's company is banking on its driver assistance technology to advance to full self-driving abilities, he told investors April 22.
Huang's family also alleges his Model X should've had more extensive driver assistance features if it was to be billed as "driverless" or "state-of-the-art." And while Tesla has been consistently refining Autopilot nearly as much as the cars themselves, there's still that looming complaint the automaker is improving its vehicles using its customers as the testers – sometimes with severe consequences.