Tesla’s claims for autopilot and autonomy are under fire again, this time from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in a complaint filed on July 28.
The complaint alleges that the company made “false or misleading” statements in the advertisements on its website claiming to be Tesla the vehicles were or may have been equipped with the advanced features of the driver assistance system.
Tesla ads (TSLA) appeared in marketing material on the company’s website “on at least five dates” between May 2021 and July 2022, the complaint said.
They included descriptions such as “Autopilot” and “Full ability to drive independently” and used phrases such as “All you have to do is get in and tell your car where to go… Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route as it navigates city streets, intricate intersections and highways,” said the suit.
Another claim that the alleged California DMV was misleading was: “The system is designed to be able to carry out short and long-distance journeys without any action required by the person sitting in the driver’s seat.”
“These ads are a deceptive practice,” according to the California Civil Code, the DMV’s complaint said.
Tesla does not usually respond to requests for comment.
Tesla issued objections since June warning that features still require active driver supervision, which runs counter to “misleading labels and claims,” the complaint added.
Tesla’s advertising efforts could temporarily lose its manufacturer’s license and special California license plate numbers, the complaint warned.
Data released in June by the National Road Safety Administration showed they were 273 accidents in the past nine months involving Tesla driver assistance technology, caused by: either its “fully autonomous” software or its predecessor, the Tesla Autopilot.
Of the 497 accidents investigated by NHTSA, 43% of those caused by driver assistance technology occurred in California.
Tesla’s autopilot feature is standard on all its vehicles, making it one of the the most widely used autopilot systems in the industry. While Tesla reminds drivers to stay alert when using it, a 2021 MIT study found that users who used the system were more distracted and were more likely to look away from the road than when they were. driving without this feature.
Tesla is 15 days old defense in order to avoid taking a decision by default.
The department said this complaint is separate from the ongoing review of Tesla’s intended design and technology capabilities.
The Los Angeles Times was the first news site to file a complaint.