Tesla is in hot water with California DMV over its Autopilot and self-driving claims

Tesla is in hot water with California DMV over its autopilot and self-driving claims, which the agency says are misleading.

The company has two weeks to respond to the investigation or it risks temporarily losing its licenses to operate as an automaker and auto dealership in California.

Over the years, Tesla has come under fire for the way it advertises its Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS).

One of the main concerns has been the system’s actual names “Autopilot” and “Fully Self-Driving Capability”. Some people think the names suggest the systems are self-contained even though they are just driver assistance systems.

California DMV, which has some authority over Tesla because it has many operations in the state, has shared these concerns in the past.

Now he’s pressing Tesla with not one but two filings with the California Office of Administrative Hearings claiming that Tesla is falsely promoting these systems as “autonomous” (via CNBC):

“Instead of simply identifying product or brand names, these ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ labels and descriptions indicate that vehicles equipped with ADAS capabilities will operate as autonomous vehicles, but vehicles equipped with these ADAS features could not at the time of these advertisements, and cannot now operate as autonomous vehicles.

The DMV is taking a two-pronged approach in which it is pushing Tesla to change its marketing around Autopilot and full self-driving and to separately probe Tesla’s system capabilities as part of a safety review.

Last year, Tesla’s communications with the DMV about full self-driving were published and caused confusion. Some of the comments Tesla made to the DMV could be interpreted as contradicting what Tesla and Elon Musk are saying publicly.

Tesla tried to convince the DMV that its Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta isn’t a Level 4 or 5 autonomous driving system, so it doesn’t have to send data back to the DMV.

On the publicity front, California DMV Deputy Public Affairs Office Director Anita Gore said:

It “will ask Tesla to advertise to consumers and better educate Tesla drivers about the capabilities of its “autopilot” and “fully self-driving” features, including warnings about feature limitations, and for other actions as appropriate in light of the violations.

Tesla now has 15 days to respond to DMV requests or it risks losing its licenses to operate as an automaker and auto dealer in California.


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