The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) accused Tesla Inc of misleading the public with marketing. This is related to the autopilot function on every vehicle it produces.
Quoted from Reuters, Saturday (6/8/2022), DMV, which is the transportation regulator in California, said Tesla had wrongly advertised the Autopilot feature and Full Self-Driving had full functionality to control the vehicle autonomously.
In a complaint filed through the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings, the DMV confirmed Tesla had misled potential customers with advertisements that exaggerated how well its advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) worked.
“Tesla makes or disseminates statements that are untrue or misleading, and are not based on facts,” the DMV said in the complaint dated July 28 and published on Friday.
The vehicle, which is equipped with Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technology, is rated, “not as stated in the advertisement, and is not currently able to operate as an autonomous vehicle,” the DMV added.
The DMV is now seeking a solution to suspending Tesla’s license to sell its products in California, and asking the company led by Elon Musk to pay drivers damages.
Tesla, which has dissolved its media relations department, did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.
In its ads, Tesla calls Autopilot, “enabling your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane,” while Full-Self Driving also allows the vehicle to obey traffic signals and make lane changes.
According to Tesla’s website, both technologies “require active driver supervision,” with an “attentive” driver whose hands are on the wheel, “and do not make the vehicle autonomous.”
But the DMV says Tesla’s disclaimer goes against the original labels and claims that are untrue or misleading, are misleading, and do not avoid infringement.
California is Tesla’s largest market in the US. The company already sold 121,000 vehicles there in 2021, out of an estimated 352,000 sold nationwide.
Since 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened 38 special investigations of accidents involving Tesla vehicles in which the ADAS system was allegedly used. Nineteen deaths were reported from the crash, including a motorcyclist who died last month in Utah.
NHTSA did not immediately comment on the DMV complaint.
National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy in an interview with Reuters last year said there was “no comparison” between Tesla’s Autopilot and the tools used in aviation.
“Some manufacturers will do what they want to do to sell cars and it’s up to the government to control it,” he said.