The California Department of Motor Vehicles accuses Tesla of making misleading representations concerning Autopilot and Full-Self Driving

The California Department of Motor Vehicles accuses Tesla of making misleading representations concerning Autopilot and Full-Self Driving

According to the Los Angeles Times, the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has accused Tesla of fraudulently promoting its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) technologies. On July 28th, the agency filed two separate complaints with the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings, saying Tesla made “false or misleading” representations regarding the autonomous driving capabilities of its cars.

The DMV contends in the documents that the titles of Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD capabilities, as well as the wording used to explain them, incorrectly indicate that vehicles equipped with the technology may drive automatically. The DMV explicitly cites Tesla’s Autopilot website, which claims that its FSD system “is intended to be able to perform short and long-distance excursions with no action necessary by the person in the driver’s seat” and is capable of “navigating urban streets, complicated junctions, and highways.”

All Tesla cars offer Autopilot, which includes functions such as traffic-aware cruise control and autosteer. Drivers must pay an additional $12,000 for Tesla’s FSD system, which includes auto-parking, auto lane shifting, the ability to call a car from a parking place to where they are standing, and access to a beta program to test new improvements. Tesla’s FSD and Autopilot, however, do not make cars entirely autonomous; drivers must still pay attention to the road and maintain their hands on the wheel at all times.

“Rather than just identifying product or brand names, these ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ labels and descriptions represent that vehicles equipped with the ADAS [advanced driver-assistance system] features would operate as an autonomous vehicle,” the DMV claims in the filing. “These advertising are fraudulent in nature.”

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Although Tesla currently publishes warnings concerning its driver-assist technology, the DMV claims that this is insufficient to correct the alleged deceptive remarks. The DMV’s decision might result in Tesla’s permits to manufacture and sell vehicles in California being suspended, but the government may not go that far. A representative for the agency told the Los Angeles Times that the government would compel Tesla to adequately educate consumers about its Autopilot and FSD functions, as well as offer adequate cautions about the technology’s limits. Tesla has 15 days to reply to the DMV’s allegation, after which the agency will act without a hearing.

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