The California Department of Automobiles has accused Tesla of false advertising in its promotion of the company’s premium autopilot and fully self-driving technologies.
The agency claims that the electric-car maker misled customers with advertising language on its website that describes its fully automated and autonomous driving technologies as more capable than they actually are.
In a pair of complaints filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings on July 28, the DMV said the company had “made or published statements that were untrue or misleading and not based on facts.”
DMV complaints refer to the names of the technologies themselves, as well as other “misleading” language such as the following, which It seems On the Autopilot page of the Tesla website:
“All you have to do is get in and tell your car where to go. If you don’t say anything, your car will look at your calendar and take you there as a supposed destination. Your Tesla will determine the optimal route, navigating city streets, complex intersections and highways.”
The remedies the DMV would suggest if they prevail could be harsh, including revoking the company’s licenses to manufacture or sell its vehicles in California. But the actual treatments are probably much softer.
A DMV spokesperson said Friday via email that if the action is successful, “the DMV will require that Tesla be required to advertise to consumers and better educate Tesla drivers about the potential of ‘autopilot’ and ‘full autonomous driving’ features, including cautionary warnings about restrictions on Other features and actions as appropriate given the violations.”
In June, Tesla CEO Elon Musk emphasized the importance of fully autonomous driving for the company. Without it, Tesla”It is basically zero,” He said.
The fully self-driving feature costs $12,000 and is meant to drive the car automatically on highways, city streets, and neighborhood roads; obey traffic lights automatically; You wander into the parking lot without the driver stopping himself.
Despite the name, there is no vehicle available for purchase by individuals capable of fully autonomous driving from Tesla or any other company.
The DMV asserts that Tesla cars have never, and “cannot now, function as autonomous vehicles.”
The DMV notes that Tesla’s website states that “Currently enabled features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”
But the DMV said the disclaimer “contradicts the original incorrect or misleading marks and claims, is misleading and does not address the infringement.”
Tesla’s driver-assist technologies have been a common feature that helps the automaker stand out in the increasingly crowded electric vehicle market. But YouTube videos showing its systems putting cars in dangerous situations have drawn attention, including near-front collisions with trucks and trains that require the driver to pull the steering wheel to avoid a collision. One of the videos appears to show the Tesla sensor system confusing the moon due to a traffic light stuck in yellow.
Autopilot, a lower-cost feature that combines automatic cruise control, automatic steering and automatic lane changes, was investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration when Teslas demonstrated a pattern of plowing in emergency vehicles parked on the side of the road.
It is unclear how many accidents involve fully self-driving technology, and whether any of those accidents resulted in death or injury. Tesla’s onboard computers are able to deliver this information over the air to Tesla, but the company does not share this data with the public.
More recently, Musk claimed that full self-driving was not a factor in any Tesla accident, despite at least eight crash reports submitted by Tesla owners to federal safety regulators. indicate otherwise.
Tesla’s response to DMV complaints, if any, has yet to be announced. Tesla does not have a media relations office. Musk did not respond to a call to tell the Tesla side of the story.
State Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), who chairs the transportation committee, called the DMV’s accusations against Tesla “extremely troubling.”
“It is critically important that technology restrictions are presented in the most visible way to best protect public safety on our roads across California,” she said.
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