Tesla is in hot water with California DMV over its Autopilot and self-driving claims, which the agency says are deceptive.
The company has two weeks to respond to the investigation or risk losing its licenses to operate as a California automaker and dealership temporarily.
Over the years, Tesla has been criticized for the way it advertises its Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS).
One of the biggest concerns was the actual name of the system ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’. Some people believe that the names suggest that the systems are autonomous, even if they are just driver assistance systems.
California DMV, which has some authority over Tesla because it has many operations in the state, has shared those concerns in the past.
Now it’s pressuring Tesla with not one but two filings with the California Office of Administrative Hearings alleging that Tesla is falsely promoting these systems as “autonomous” (via CNBC):
Rather than simply identifying product or brand names, these ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ labels and descriptions indicate that vehicles equipped with the ADAS features will operate as an autonomous vehicle, but vehicles equipped with the ADAS equipped with those ADAS features wouldn’t be able to at the time of those ads, and can’t operate as autonomous vehicles now.”
The DMVs is taking a two-pronged approach, urging Tesla to change its marketing around Autopilot and Full Self-Driving and also separately exploring the capabilities of Tesla’s system as part of a safety assessment.
Last year, Tesla’s communications with the DMV about Full Self-Driving were released and they caused some confusion. Some of Tesla’s comments to the DMV could be interpreted as contradicting what Tesla and Elon Musk are saying publicly.
Tesla has been trying to convince the DMV that its Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta is not a level 4 or 5 self-driving system so it doesn’t have to report data to the DMV.
On the advertising front, Anita Gore, California DMV’s deputy director for the Office of Public Affairs, said:
It “will ask Tesla to advertise to consumers and better educate Tesla drivers about the capabilities of its ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving’ features, including cautionary warnings regarding the limitations of the features, and for other actions as appropriate given the violations.”
Tesla now has 15 days to respond to the DMV’s inquiries or risk losing its licenses to operate as a California automaker and dealership
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