The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is the most recent regulatory body to express dissatisfaction with the way Tesla informs customers about its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving technologies.
The Los Angeles Times reported that on July 28, the California DMV filed two complaints with the Office of Administrative Hearings alleging that Tesla “made or spread representations regarding its autonomous driving capabilities that are inaccurate or deceptive, and not founded on facts.”
Similar objections were raised in September 2021 by Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. The Wall Street Journal quotes Homendy told (Opens in a new window) as saying that Tesla’s branding is “misleading and irresponsible” and has “obviously misled numerous people to overuse and abuse technology.”
Easy to understand how. However, what are customers expected to anticipate from a combination of features labeled Autopilot and Full Self-Driving if not autonomous vehicles? Tesla makes it explicit on its website (Opens in a new window) that none of its self-driving add-ons delivers genuinely autonomous driving capabilities.
Additionally, Tesla claims that all new Tesla vehicles are “built to be able to perform short and long distance trips with no action necessary by the person in the drivers seat” and “have the hardware needed in the future for full self-driving in almost all conditions.”
The business states that as it continues to develop its technology and obtain regulatory approval, it will gradually provide such functionalities. However, it’s obvious that the company is seeking to inspire trust in its self-driving technology based more on its predictions for the future than on its existing capabilities.
According to a statement from the California DMV to the Times, if its action is successful, “we will ask that Tesla will be required to advertise to consumers and better educate Tesla drivers about the capabilities of its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features, including cautionary warnings regarding the features’ limitations, and for other actions as appropriate given the violations.”
A request for comment from Tesla was not immediately complied with.