California DMV says Tesla FSD, autopilot deceptive marketing

Brand new Tesla cars are parked in a Tesla showroom parking lot on June 27, 2022 in Corte Madera, California.

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The California Department of Motor Vehicles has accused Tesla of engaging in fraudulent practices related to the marketing of driver assistance systems that are branded Autopilot and Full Self Driving in the US, according to an application filed with the state administration.

Elon Musk’s electric car business risks more than his reputation – at worst, the company may temporarily lose its licenses that allow it to operate as a vehicle manufacturer and car dealer in California.

In two papers dated July 28 at the California Bureau of Administrative Hearings, a DMV official and lawyers wrote:

“Instead of just identifying product or brand names, these labels and descriptions” Autopilot “and” Fully self-driving “mean that vehicles equipped with ADAS functions will function as autonomous vehicles, but vehicles equipped with these ADAS functions will not be able to time of these ads and cannot now function as autonomous vehicles. “

California DMV’s deputy director for the Bureau of Public Affairs, Anita Gore, told CNBC in an email that if the department wins, it will “ask Tesla to be committed to advertising to consumers and better educating Tesla drivers about its capabilities.” independence, including warning notices about function limitations and other actions that are appropriate in the event of violations ”.

Gore noted that this action relates only to Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD marketing and advertising efforts. The California DMV is conducting a separate safety review of the “intended design and technological capability of Tesla vehicles” to determine if they can be used on public roads without specific approval.

Gore said the DMV wants to prevent drivers from misunderstanding and misusing new vehicle technologies.

The Los Angeles Times previously reported the DMV files to the governing body.

Tesla has fifteen days to respond to the allegations in the administrative court, otherwise the DMV will make a decision by default.

Tesla includes autopilot driver assistance features on all newly manufactured cars and sells the premium FSD (or Full Self Driving) option for $ 12,000 upfront or on a subscription basis for $ 199 per month. Sometimes the company sells the Enhanced Autopilot option with some premium features.

Electric vehicle maker Elon Musk also allows drivers to test unfinished driver assistance features on US public roads through a program called FSD Beta (or Full Self Driving Beta).

Only Tesla owners who have the company’s premium FSD system installed can participate in the FSD Beta. Owners must achieve a high driver safety score as determined by Tesla’s software that monitors their driving and then maintain it to continue using the FSD Beta. The company said it has already rolled out FSD Beta access to over 100,000 drivers, mostly in the United States

Automobile manufacturers, including Tesla, must now report serious collisions involving advanced driver assistance systems to the National Road Safety Administration.

Tesla vehicles accounted for around 70% or over 270 of reported accidents involving these systems between June 2021 and July 2022, according to federal data released in early July. The data is not intended to indicate which car manufacturer’s systems may be the safest.

NHTSA also launched at least 37 special collision investigations involving Tesla vehicles in which it was believed that the company’s driver assistance systems were a factor. At least 17 fatalities were the result of those collisions that inspired NHTSA’s special accident research.

NHTSA has also opened an evaluation of Tesla’s Autopilot technology to confirm whether it is defective and requires a recall, following a series of accidents in which Tesla vehicles hit stationary emergency vehicles.

Read the official California DMV accusations against Tesla here and here.

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