Tesla is being sued over Autopilot and Elon Musk's projections of Full Self-Driving Cars
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Tesla is being sued over Autopilot and Elon Musk’s projections of Full Self-Driving Cars

A Tesla owner has filed a lawsuit in San Francisco alleging that the company and its CEO / Technoking Elon Musk are “deceptively and misleadingly” selling the Autopilot and “Full Self-Driving” advanced driver assistance functions, which are available as paid software add-ons.

According to the filing, Tesla and Musk “deceived and misled consumers about the current capabilities of its ADAS [advanced driver-assistance system] technology and by representing that it was perpetually on the cusp of perfecting that technology and finally fulfilling its promise of producing a fully self-driving car,” and that “contrary to Tesla’s repeated promises that it would have a fully self-driving car within months or a year, Tesla has never been remotely close to

Briggs Matsko, the suit, claims he paid $5,000 for the package in 2018, similar to many Tesla users who have paid thousands of dollars for Enhanced Autopilot. That was marketed as a prelude to “Full Self-Driving” technology, a new $15,000 software add-on package that is still in development. Matsko is pursuing class-action status for the complaint, while Tesla is already facing another class-action lawsuit for “phantom braking occurrences,” which have plagued Tesla’s adaptive cruise control features for years.

The complaint targets Tesla’s feature language, such as the moniker “Autopilot,” as well as Elon Musk’s public pronouncements and tweets about the constantly incomplete Full Self-Driving system. It explicitly references Musk’s assertion that an autonomous US cross-country journey would be completed by 2018, as well as his 2019 promises of having 1 million robotaxis on the road, stating, “A year from now, we’ll have over a million vehicles with full self-driving, software… everything.”

The road trip was subsequently put on hold indefinitely, with Musk conceding that it would need a customized route to function and stating that he wanted to concentrate the Autopilot team on safety features. The robotaxis is no longer a reality.

In terms of Full Self-Driving, the complaint uses a 2016 video published by Tesla — and currently available on its website — that seems to show a Model X leaving a garage, driving through a city, dropping off the “driver,” and then autonomously locating a parallel parking place to wedge itself into. According to former Tesla engineers who were there during the video’s shooting, the vehicle employed a pre-charted and 3D planned route – technology not seen in any production Tesla.

The complaint further claims that Full Self-Driving and Autopilot are not just misleading, but also hazardous. It cites examples such as the 2018 disaster in California in which a Model X on Autopilot slammed into a concrete barrier, killing the driver, and another in which a Tesla on Autopilot smashed into the rear of a stopped fire truck, sparking a federal inquiry.

According to Matsko’s lawsuit, he is seeking “injunctive relief prohibiting Tesla from continuing the deceptive and misleading marketing of its ADAS technology, restitution for money Plaintiff and Class members paid for technology that Tesla promised but never delivered, and all available damages, including punitive damages, to punish Tesla for years of using deceptive and misleading marketing to eventually establish itself as a dominant player in the electric vehicle market.”

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