California DMV investigates Tesla’s self-driving capability claims

Shane McGlaun - May 18, 2021, 5:56am CDT
California DMV investigates Tesla’s self-driving capability claims

Tesla is under investigation by the California Department of Motor Vehicles with the investigation seeking to determine if Tesla is misleading customers when it advertises its “full self-driving capability” option. The full self-driving capability option adds $10,000 to the price of the vehicle and allows the car to change lanes, take exit ramps on a highway, and stop at traffic lights and stop signs on its own.

However, the California DMV says the vehicle is not capable of fully driving itself per commonly accepted engineering standards. While the California DMV has confirmed it is investigating Tesla, it has declined to make any comments on the investigation because it is still pending. The DMV has regulations in place that prohibit auto manufacturers from misleading advertising for autonomous vehicles.

Tesla does place a disclaimer on its website in small print that notes the $10,000 full self-driving package does not make the car autonomous, and it requires active supervision by the driver. Despite Tesla’s disclaimers, there are multiple videos showing owners of the vehicles overcoming safeguards Tesla has in place and climbing into the backseat while the vehicle drives itself down the road.

Recently in Texas, there was a fatal crash where authorities said they believed the driver wasn’t behind the wheel when the accident occurred. Tesla claims the driver was behind the wheel in that fatal accident. Should Tesla be found in violation of California regulations, it faces the possibility of having its autonomous vehicle deployment permits suspended or revoked in California. It could also have its manufacturer and dealer licenses pulled as well.

Tesla and California have been at odds with Tesla moving one of its proposed factories from California to Texas. That move had to do in part with California refusing to allow Tesla to put employees back to work during the coronavirus pandemic.


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