US authorities are looking into Tesla's self-driving promises.
Due to promises that its electric vehicles can drive themselves, Tesla is the subject of a criminal investigation. The investigation into Elon Musk's company began following a dozen accidents involving Tesla cars.
According to three persons with knowledge of the situation, Tesla is under criminal investigation in the United States for making promises that its electric cars can drive itself.
The US Department of Justice launched the previously unknown inquiry last year in response to more than a dozen crashes, some of which used Tesla's Autopilot driving assistance system, which was active during the crashes, the people said.
As early as 2016, Tesla's marketing materials started promoting Autopilot's capabilities. In a conference call that year, Elon Musk, the CEO of the Silicon Valley automaker, declared that it was 'probably better' than a human driver.
Musk announced last week that Tesla would soon release an improved version of its 'Full Self-Driving' software that would allow customers to travel 'to your work, your friend's house, or to the convenience store without even touching the wheel.'
According to a video that is now accessible on the business website, the person behind the wheel is only there for legal purposes. He is not acting in any way. The car is self-driving.
The business has made it quite apparent, however, that while using Autopilot, drivers are still required to maintain control of their vehicles by maintaining their hands on the wheel.
The Tesla technological components are designed to assist with steering, braking, speed, and lane changes but 'do not make the vehicle autonomous,' according to the company's website.
Tesla did not respond to a letter from Reuters on Wednesday after shuttering its media relations department in 2020. Musk did not respond to written requests for comment, either. Justice Department spokeswoman declined to offer any additional commentary.
In a 2020 interview with Automotive News, Musk claimed that difficulties with Autopilot are caused by users who don't follow Tesla's guidelines. Federal and California safety regulators are already closely examining the claims made about Autopilot's capabilities and the system's design to see if they give customers a false sense of security, causing them to treat Teslas as truly driverless cars and become complacent behind the wheel with potentially fatal results.
Investigators would probably need to find evidence, such as emails or other internal communications, to prove that Tesla and Musk intentionally misrepresented Autopilot's capabilities, according to Barbara McQuade, a former US attorney in Detroit.