The Californian vehicle regulator has accused electric carmaker Tesla of misleading consumers about its Autopilot and “full self-driving” features.
The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has filed a complaint with the state Office of Administrative Hearings alleging Tesla falsely advertised its advanced driver assistance features.
Tesla’s website states: “All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go. If you don’t say anything, your car will look at your calendar and take you there as the assumed destination.”
However, the DMV claims Tesla’s cars “could not at the time of those advertisements, and cannot now, operate as autonomous vehicles.”
Consequences in Tesla’s home state
A ruling in favor of the DMV could potentially see Tesla’s license to sell cars revoked in the state of California.
But a DMV spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that a more likely remedy would involve having Tesla better educate potential customers about its driver assist features, including with a warning on the limitations of its technology.
Tesla was founded in California, and the state remains its largest market within the US. The company sold 121,000 cars there last year out of roughly 352,000 sold nationwide.
Federal probe underway
In a separate probe, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sent teams to investigate two fatal accidents involving Tesla cars last month.
In both cases, a Tesla collided with a motorcycle on dark highway road. The NHTSA suspects both vehicles were in Autopilot mode at the time of the accidents.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at an annual shareholders’ meeting on Friday that that “full Self-driving” is greatly improved and that he expects to roll out the feature by the year’s end to all drivers who request it.
zc/dj (AP, Reuters, AFP)