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Man killed in 2018 crash had reported previous Tesla autopilot issues

The owner of a Tesla who was killed in a 2018 crash in California while using Autopilot had reported that on prior trips, the car had steered away from the highway.

Documents released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the United States show that on March 23, 2018, Walter Huang’s 2017 Tesla Model X P100D veered out of its lane and into a centre concrete barrier. He died from his injuries.

Tesla Model X

The 38-year-old Apple software engineer was driving his Tesla Model X in Mountain View, California, in Autopilot mode at about 113 kmh when it crashed into the barrier. The NTSB said Mr Huang had reported issues on prior trips with Autopilot steering the wheel toward an area between a highway ramp and the lane.

Data recovered from Mr Huang’s smartphone indicates that a mobile game was active during his drive and that his hands were not on the wheel during the six seconds ahead of the crash.

Although this info couldn’t determine if Mr Huang was interacting with the game at the time, documents from the NTSB stated there was no evidence of braking or evasive action before his fatal crash, suggesting his eyes were not on the road.

Data taken from the SUV showed that in prior trips Mr Huang had taken corrective action after Autopilot had steered toward the area.

Tesla has previously advised drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and pay attention while using the Autopilot system at all times.

The NTSB will hold a board meeting on February 25 to determine the cause of the crash.