Tesla is in hot water again and this time it’s the brand’s former home state of California that’s on the offensive. More specifically, Tesla has been accused of false advertising by the Californian DMV concerning the automaker’s promotion of its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technologies.
Tesla has long been the subject of controversy over the nomenclature it uses for both Autopilot and FSD. Detractors say that the names make it seem as though the vehicle requires no human attention or interaction. Proponents point to the fact that Tesla requires users to agree to keeping their attention on the road and being alert enough to take over when needed during the use of each feature.
Now, a new report from the Los Angeles Times details the complaint filed on July 28. In it, the DMV says that Tesla “made or disseminated statements that are untrue or misleading, and not based on facts,” and points to the names of each technology as well as language on Tesla’s website as the basis for the complaint.
The specific language on the Autopilot page is called out too: “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.” That is very clearly not how any vehicle, including any Tesla, on the roads today functions.
The complaint could see Tesla’s license to build and sell cars in California revoked, although that’s unlikely. A spokesperson for the DMV told the LA Times that if the action succeeds, it will ask that Tesla be required to “advertise to consumers and better educate Tesla buyers about the capabilities of its ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving’ features”, including their limitations.