Passersby pulled Huang from the wreckage moments before the vehicle burst into flames, but he later died from his injuries at a hospital.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Huang complained to his family earlier that his 2017 Tesla Model X had attempted to veer into the barrier while on Autopilot before. A second later, the SUV began a "left steering movement" while still following the other vehicle.
Tesla's owner's manual warns drivers that the system may not detect stationary objects when traveling at higher speeds. The NTSB stated that all aspects of the crash remain under investigation, and that it intends to issue safety recommendations to prevent similar incidents from taking place.
Tesla hasn't issued a statement regarding the NTSB's report but in a blog post published a few weeks ago, the EV maker said the following: "The driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken". With no auto in front of it, the Model X began accelerating again to the 75 miles per hour cruise setting, before colliding with the concrete barrier that separated the highway from the exit ramp at 70.8 miles per hour.
The preliminary results of that NTSB investigation have been released, and they are concerning.
In March, a Tesla Model X with Autopilot engaged collided with a highway barrier, killing driver Walter Huang. Among the information Tesla released was that the driver did not have his hands on the wheel during the final 6 seconds leading up to the accident - information that has been reiterated in the NTSB's preliminary report.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating the case of a Model S driven by a 28-year-old woman that struck a stopped fire truck on a South Jordan, Utah, roadway on May 11. The Tesla driver suffered fatal injuries while the driver of the Mazda suffered minor injuries and the driver of the Audi was not injured.
In context: Tesla has drawn quite a bit of heat lately due to numerous crashes that have occurred with Autopilot engaged. At 4 seconds, the Tesla was no longer following a vehicle.
"Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents - such a standard would be impossible - but it makes them much less likely to occur", the company wrote in the post. "Never depend on Automatic Emergency Braking to avoid or reduce the impact of a collision". The fire was extinguished in 10 minutes, but it reignited later that day in an impound lot.