Tesla crash driver’s family hires law firm, doubts over autopilot

Tesla Model X

The family of a driver who was killed in a Tesla car crash has hired law firm Minami Tamaki LLP to look for legal options, the law firm stated on Wednesday, adding that the Autopilot feature in the electric automaker’s vehicle probably contributed to his death.

Walter Huang died in a crash and vehicle fire in a Model X close to Mountain View, California, in March, prompting investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The firms are also checking the battery fire that followed the crash.

Tesla later stated the car had activated Autopilot, raising new concerns about the semi-autonomous system that handles some driving tasks. The company stated vehicle logs from the accident revealed no action had been taken by Huang before the crash and that he got warnings to put his hands on the wheel.

The NTSB verified on Wednesday that it has two more pending investigations of other Tesla crashes, including an investigation of an August 2017 Tesla battery fire in Lake Forest, California, that took place after an owner lost control and ran into his garage. That fire investigation had not previously been reported.

“We’re really more looking at the fire aspects,” NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt informed Reuters, stating that the battery continued to ignite even after it was loaded onto a truck.

Tesla refused to comment on the August incident.

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