California DMV accuses Tesla of false advertising

The California Department of Motor Vehicles has accused Tesla of false advertising in promoting the company’s signature Autopilot and Fully Self-Driving technologies.

The agency accused the electric-car maker of misleading customers with advertising language on its website that described Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technology as more capable than it really is.

The company has “made or disseminated statements that are false or misleading, and not based on facts,” the DMV said in a pair of complaints filed with the state Office of Administrative Hearings. on July 28.

The DMV’s complaints point to the very names of the technologies, as well as other “misleading” language, such as the following, appearing on the Autopilot page on Tesla’s website:

“All you need to do is enter the house and tell your car where to go. If you don’t say anything, your car will look at your schedule and take you there as a hypothetical destination. Your Tesla will find the optimal route, navigating urban streets, complex intersections, and freeways.”

The remedies proposed by the DMV if the lawsuit is won could be very serious, including revoking the company’s license to manufacture or sell cars in California. But the actual remedies are likely to be much more gentle.

A DMV spokesman said Friday by email that if its action is successful, “the DMV will require Tesla to advertise to consumers and better educate Tesla drivers about the capabilities of these vehicles.” ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving’ features, including careful warnings about feature limitations and other actions as appropriate if violated. “

In June, Tesla CEO Elon Musk emphasized the importance of fully self-driving cars for the company. Without the FSD, Tesla “is essentially zero,” he said.

The Full Self-Driving feature costs $12,000 and is intended for autonomous driving on freeways, city roads, and neighborhood roads; automatically obey traffic signals; and roam in a parking lot without a driver to park itself.

Despite the name, none of the cars are available for purchase by fully autonomous individuals from Tesla or any other company.

Tesla cars could never “and now cannot, operate as autonomous vehicles,” the DMV statement asserts.

The DMV notes that Tesla’s website states that “features currently enabled require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”

However, the DMV said, the disclaimer “conflicts the original false or misleading labels and claims, is misleading, and does not cure the violation.”

Tesla’s driver-assist technologies are common features that help the automaker stand out in an increasingly crowded electric vehicle market. But YouTube videos showing their system placing cars in dangerous situations have attracted attention, including head-on collisions with trucks and trains that cause drivers to jerk their hands away. steer to avoid collision. A video surfaced showing Tesla’s sensor system confusing the moon with traffic lights stuck in yellow.

Autopilot, a less expensive feature that combines automatic cruise control with automatic steering and automatic lane change, was investigated by the National Highway Traffic and Highway Administration when Teslas showed a form of rushing into emergency vehicles parked on the side of the road.

It’s not clear how many crashes involved the Full Self-Driving technology and whether any of them resulted in death or injury. Tesla’s onboard computers are capable of transmitting that information over the network to Tesla, but the company does not share that data with the public.

Musk recently stated that Self-Driving was not a factor at all in any Tesla crashes, despite at least eight crash reports filed by Tesla owners with regulators. Federal safety regulations suggest the opposite.

Tesla’s response to the DMV’s complaints, if any, has not yet been made public. Tesla does not have a media relations office. Musk did not respond to an invitation to tell Tesla’s story.

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2022-08-05/dmv-false-advertising-tesla California DMV accuses Tesla of false advertising

Edmund DeMarche

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