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Tesla accused of false advertising involving Autopilot and self-driving features

by Dennis Mathu
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Tesla has been accused of false advertising by California’s Department of Motor Vehicles for promoting its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features as providing autonomous vehicle control.

The DMV claims that the electric-carmaker misled customers by using advertising language that exaggerated the capabilities of the technologies.

Tesla “made or disseminated statements that are untrue or misleading, and not based on facts,” the DMV said in complaints filed with the state Office of Administrative Hearings.

Referring to Tesla’s website, the company promises that “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. Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigating urban streets, complex intersections and freeways.”

According to the complaint, Tesla cars “could not at the time of those advertisements, and cannot now, operate as autonomous vehicles,” 

The DMV’s complaint noted that Tesla’s website states that “the currently enabled features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.” But the agency said the disclaimer “contradicts the original untrue or misleading labels and claims, which is misleading, and does not cure the violation.”

The agency’s proposed remedies include revoking Tesla’s license to sell cars in California and compensating customers who have suffered financial losses as a result of the advertising.

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