Tesla’s advertising exaggerated the real ability of cars to drive autonomously, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Two complaints from the agency to the state administration say Tesla made “false or misleading” claims about the capabilities of Autopilot and fully autonomous driving features.
The names Autopilot and Fully Autonomous Driving, as well as the language used to describe these functions, suggest that the car is fully autonomous. In particular, Tesla website says that the system is “designed to be able to conduct short and long distance trips with no action required by the person in the driver’s seat” and can “navigate urban streets, complex intersections and freeways”.
Autopilot is available in all Tesla cars. It is responsible for functions such as cruise control and automatic steering. By paying an additional $12,000 for full autonomous driving, the owner gets the functions of automatic parking, automatic lane change, the ability to call the car from the parking lot and access to testing future functions. However, this does not make the cars fully autonomous. Drivers should still pay attention and keep their hands on the wheel.
“Instead of simply identifying product or brand names, these ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ labels and descriptions represent that vehicles equipped with the ADAS features will operate as an autonomous vehicle.This ad is deceptive,” says the complaint.
Potentially, the complaints could lead to the suspension of the Tesla’s license to manufacture and sell cars in California. However, the agency says that it will only require the manufacturer to properly familiarize customers with autonomy functions and provide sufficient warnings about their limitations.
We will remind, in the USA they are investigating several fatal accidents involving Tesla cars. In particular, we are talking about cases when cars under the control of the autopilot crashed into stationary objects.