California DMV accuses Tesla of false advertising. At issue: Autopilot and Full Self-Driving

Russ Mitchell, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

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

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

But, the DMV said, the disclaimer “contradicts the original untrue or misleading labels and claims, which is misleading, and does not cure the violation.”

Tesla’s driver-assisting technologies have been popular features that help the carmaker stand out in an increasingly crowded electric vehicle market. But YouTube videos showing its systems placing cars in dangerous situations have drawn attention, including near head-on collisions with trucks and trains that require a driver to yank the steering wheel to avoid a crash. One video appears to show Tesla’s sensor system confusing the moon for a traffic light stuck on yellow.

Autopilot, a less expensive feature that combines automatic cruise control with automatic steering and automatic lane changes, came under investigation by the National Highway and Traffic Administration when Teslas showed a pattern of plowing into emergency vehicles parked by the roadside.


It’s unclear how many crashes involve Full Self-Driving technology, and if any of those crashes have led to death or injury. Tesla’s onboard computers are capable of communicating that information over the air to Tesla, but the company doesn’t share that data with the public.

Recently, Musk claimed that FSD had not been a factor in any Tesla crash, although at least eight crash reports submitted by Tesla owners to federal safety regulators indicate otherwise.

Tesla’s response to the DMV complaints, if any, has not yet been made public. Tesla has no media relations office. Musk did not respond to an invitation to tell Tesla’s side of the story.


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