Consumer Advocacy Groups Ask Federal Regulator To Investigate Tesla's Autopilot
By Patrick Chu, SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS TIMES
May 23, 2018
Two consumer advocacy groups asked a federal regulator to investigate Tesla's Autopilot self-driving vehicle marketing, which they say are deceiving car buyers.
The Center for Auto Safety and Consumer Watchdog urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate what they called Tesla Inc.’s “deceptive and misleading” use of the name Autopilot.
Since 2015, Tesla vehicles have self-driving technology already loaded in its cars, enabling drivers to activate the mode, which runs similar to cruise control. Autopilot automates steering and braking (as seen in this video).
But the Bay Area automaker warns drivers that when the system is engaged, a driver must keep hands on the wheel and be prepared to take control. In the following video, the driver has no hands on the wheel (or feet on the pedals either):
In a joint letter requesting an investigation, the groups said that the company's advertisements, press releases, statements and tweets by founder and CEO Elon Musk, “mislead and deceive customers into believing that Autopilot is safer and more capable than it is known to be.”
“Tesla is the only automaker to market its Level 2 vehicles as ‘self-driving’, and the name of its driver assistance suite of features, Autopilot, connotes full autonomy,” the letter read.
“The burden now falls on the FTC to investigate Tesla’s unfair and deceptive practices so that consumers have accurate information, understand the limitations of Autopilot, and conduct themselves appropriately and safely,” it read.
The group's full letter can be viewed here.
Two months ago, an Apple software engineer died following a fiery crash on his way to work on Highway 101. The Autopilot mode was engaged. The accident is still under investigation.
Telsa wasn't immediately available to comment.