The US Justice Department wants to find out whether Tesla misled its customers with claims about the self-driving capabilities of its cars. The research focuses on the Autopilot software.
The Department of Justice started an investigation into Tesla’s driver guidance software as early as 2021, the Reuters news agency reported. The so-called Autopilot is sold as ‘fully self-driving’ in the United States. According to CEO Elon Musk, the software makes Tesla the safest car on the market.
However, US regulators do not fully agree. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), among others, has already contradicted the claims. And now, the Ministry of Justice is also going into more detail. According to Reuters, the government wants to determine whether Tesla has misled consumers, investors and regulators, by making unproven claims about the capabilities of its driver assistance software.
Although Tesla says on its website that Autopilot requires active supervision (most regions do not allow self-driving cars by law), Tesla says in marketing videos that the driver must only be present “for legal reasons” and claims that the car is complete and can drive on his own. The Justice Department now wants to check those claims, among other things. However, whether the investigation will also lead to judicial consequences is not certain.
Meanwhile, several investigations into the car company are underway. The NHTSA is also investigating Tesla after dozens of cars were involved in accidents while they were in assisted mode. In addition, the traffic committee started a case over the ability of the cars to recognize cyclists after Tesla’s assistance mode killed a motorcyclist several times.
A second investigation was launched after several emergency vehicles were hit. The California Department of Motor Vehicles has also filed complaints against Tesla. That regulator is also concerned about the claim of ‘fully self-driving.