California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has accused Tesla of falsely advertising its driver-assistance technology in two complaints that could affect the company’s ability to sell cars in the state.
The agency said Tesla had misled customers by claiming in advertisements that vehicles equipped with its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability programs were autonomous. If the agency’s complaints to the state’s Office of Administrative Hearings succeed, Tesla’s licenses to make and sell vehicles in California could be suspended or revoked.
Tesla “made or disseminated statements that are untrue or misleading, and not based on facts, in advertising vehicles as equipped, or potentially equipped, with advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features,” the agency said in its complaints, which were filed on July 28.
The Los Angeles Times reported earlier on the agency’s complaints, which are separate from its review of Tesla’s vehicle designs and technological abilities.
Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, and a company lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday evening.
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In marketing materials on its website, Tesla said its driver-assistance technology was capable of conducting trips “with no action required by the person in the driver’s seat.” Despite Tesla’s disclaimer that the programs “require active driver supervision,” the claim and others were false and misleading, the agency said.
Available since 2015, Autopilot is a system that can steer, brake and accelerate the company’s cars on its own. But it is designed mainly for use on highways, and the company’s documentation requires drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and take control of the car should the system malfunction.
Its name is borrowed from aviation systems that allow planes to fly themselves in ideal conditions with…
Kalley Huang and Cade Metz
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