California DMV accuses Tesla of misleading ads on Autopilot cars
Increasing numbers of car crashes have triggered a statement from the DMV.
A regulator from California has accused Tesla of misleading consumers about its driver assistance systems, filing complaints that may prevent Tesla from selling its products in the US state, according to US media on Friday.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Department of Motor Vehicles said Tesla exaggerated its Autopilot and Self-Driving technologies as more capable than they are more capable that they actually are.
Tesla "made or disseminated statements that are untrue or misleading, and not based on facts," according to the DMV in its complaints, which it filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings on July 28.
The DMV, which did not answer to the AFP's request for comment, argued that Tesla cars could never "and cannot now, operate as autonomous vehicles."
Tesla's website described its Autopilot cars as having a "full self-driving capability."
"All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go," it says. "If you don’t say anything, your car will look at your calendar and take you there as the assumed destination."
If a ruling backs California's regulator, this will have severe implications for Tesla. It could be possible that the licenses which enable Tesla to manufacture or sell its cars in the state would be revoked, according to the LA Times.
However, a spokesperson for the DMV told the Times that a viable solution that the agency would recommend is Tesla better educating drivers about its autonomous vehicles and including a warning about the limitations of Tesla's technology.
Tesla cars with "self-driving" capabilities have been involved in 273 accidents in the US alone, according to a report by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Last December, Tesla recalled 675,000 cars in the United States and China, prompting new questions about how safe the vehicles are.
In June, Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, divulged that without the autonomous driving feature, Tesla's value would be "close to zero."
On the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, Tesla shares plunged by 6.63%, reaching $864.51.
Increase in Tesla 'autopilot' crashes prompts further investigation
In June, after more than a dozen Tesla cars slammed into parked first-responder vehicles over the course of four years, US federal officials are stepping up their inquiry into the company's Autopilot feature.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on Thursday that its preliminary inquiry, which began in August, has been upgraded to an "engineering study," which is conducted before a recall decision is made.
The probe encompasses all four Tesla models — Models Y, X, S, and 3 – accounting for around 830,000 vehicles sold in the United States.
The probe is centered on Tesla's Autopilot feature, which is designed to assist drivers in navigating roads by using artificial intelligence to detect other vehicles. Although some drivers have used Autopilot while inebriated or in the backseat, the firm advises drivers to pay attention to the road and retain their hands on the steering wheel when using it.