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California DMV accuses Tesla of making false claims about Autopilot and autonomous driving


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The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) accused Tesla of falsely advertising its Autopilot and fully autonomous driving (FSD) features, such as previously reported by the Los Angeles Times (via CNBC). The agency filed two separate complaints with the state Office of Administrative Hearings on July 28, alleging that Tesla made “false or misleading” claims about the self-driving capabilities of its vehicles.

In the filings, the DMV claims that the names of Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD features, as well as the language the company uses to describe them, wrongly imply that cars equipped with the technology can operate autonomously. The DMV specifically lists information about Tesla Autopilot Pagewhich states that its FSD system “is designed to be able to make short and long distance trips without the person in the driver’s seat requiring any action” and is capable of “navigating urban streets, complex intersections and highways”.

Tesla includes Autopilot in all its vehicles, which comes with features like traffic-aware cruise control and automatic steering. drivers you have to pay an extra $12,000 for Tesla’s FSD system, an option that adds automatic parking, automatic lane change, the ability for drivers to hail a vehicle from a parking space to where they are stopped, and access to a beta program to test upcoming features. However, FSD and Tesla Autopilot do not make vehicles fully autonomous and still require drivers to pay attention to the road and keep their hands on the wheel at all times.

“Instead of simply identifying product or brand names, these ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Autonomous Driving Capability’ labels and descriptions represent that ADAS-equipped vehicles [advanced driver-assistance system] The features will function as an autonomous vehicle, but vehicles equipped with those ADAS features could not operate as autonomous vehicles at the time of those announcements, and cannot now,” the DMV states in the padding. “These ads are a deceptive practice.”

Although Tesla already provides disclaimers on its driver-assist technology, the DMV says it’s not enough to reverse its allegedly misleading claims. The DMV’s action could result in the suspension of Tesla’s licenses to produce and sell cars in California, but the agency may not go that far. In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, an agency spokesman said it would require Tesla to properly educate customers about its Autopilot and FSD features and provide sufficient warning about the technology’s limitations. Tesla has 15 days to respond to the DMV’s complaint, or the agency will take action without a hearing.

Tesla has faced similar complaints in the past, with the German government asking the company to stop using the term “autopilot” in 2016 over concerns that it might suggest its vehicles are fully autonomous. Last August, Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the way Tesla advertises its Autopilot and FSD system, claiming the automaker “overestimated the capabilities of its vehicles,” which could “pose a threat to motorists and other road users.”

In June, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its first report detailing crashes involving vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous technology. he found Tesla reported the most accidents involving driver-assist technologywith 273 from July 20, 2021 to May 21, 2022, making up the majority of the 392 total accidents. Tesla is also being investigated by the NHTSA for more than a dozen crashes involving Tesla cars with autopilot and parked emergency vehicles. The NHTSA also investigating a fatal accident in which a Tesla driver using Autopilot struck and killed a motorcyclist, an incident that constitutes one of 39 ongoing investigations involving Tesla vehicles.

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