Tesla’s autopilot and self-driving claims have been called into question by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which has filed a complaint against Elon Musk’s car company.
The 11-page filing states that Tesla has made “statements that are untrue or misleading” regarding its advanced driver assistance systems.
It alleges that Tesla, instead of simply identifying product or brand names, uses ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ labels and descriptions to suggest that its cars can operate as an autonomous vehicle.
Tesla ads ran in marketing materials on the company’s website "on at least five dates" between May 2021 and July 2022, the complaint says.
"All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go...Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigating urban streets, complex intersections and freeways," the suit said, describing a Tesla ad. Another said: "The system is designed to be able to conduct short and long-distance trips with no action required by the person in the driver’s seat."
Tesla’s actions could mean it temporarily loses its manufacturer license and special plates number in California, the complaint warned.
The company did not respond to requests for comment from The Independent before time of publication.
Tesla’s autopilot systems have been slammed recently as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating several crashes.
Its vehicles have been involved in nearly 300 crashes involving its driver-assisted systems. Tesla often reminds drivers to stay alert while using its features
With about 830,000 vehicles with the systems on the road, this gives it the highest percentage of crashes to self-driving features. The next automaker with the highest was Honda. Honda reported 90 crashes using driver assisted systems, but Honda says it has about six million vehicles on roads in the United States.
The NHTSA is also intensifying its analysis of automated vehicle technology as Steven Cliff, the new head of the agency, said that it needed to better understand how the features perform.
There are currently no federal regulations that directly cover either self-driving vehicles or those with partially automated driver-assist systems such as Tesla’s Autopilot.