Tesla faces allegations from California DMV regarding false promoting for Autopilot

Tesla Inc. failed to steer an administrative law judge to dismiss a California regulator's allegations that the corporate exaggerated the autonomous driving capabilities of its vehicles, one among several ongoing regulatory investigations into the electrical automotive maker's marketing.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (MDV) claims that Tesla made false statements about its driver assistance features “Autopilot” and “fully autonomous driving,” leading customers to imagine that they were more advanced than they really were.

Monday's ruling got here lower than a month after a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that Tesla must face a category motion lawsuit from consumers with similar claims.

Although not one of the rulings addressed the merits of the lawsuits against Tesla, they represent one other setback for the automaker at a time when CEO Elon Musk has staked the corporate's future on autonomous driving.

Musk declared in April that Tesla is “going all-in on autonomy” and committed the automaker to a next-generation self-driving vehicle concept called Robotaxi. The billionaire entrepreneur has been talking big about autonomy for over a decade and has convinced customers to pay 1000’s of dollars for the Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature.

The name is misleading—FSD requires constant monitoring and doesn’t make vehicles autonomous—but Musk has repeatedly predicted that it’s near living as much as the brand name.

The company now faces federal investigations into whether defects within the autopilot contributed to fatal accidents. There are also ongoing investigations by the Attorney General's Office and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into whether Tesla made misleading statements to the general public about this feature.

Tesla's lawyers also argued that marketing their vehicles with “autonomous driving capabilities” was not a claim that the cars were already fully autonomous, but reasonably an announcement that they’d have the option to drive themselves in the long run after software updates.

Administrative Law Judge Juliet Cox sided with DMV attorney Greg Call, who argued that the case mustn’t be dismissed before the DMV has had a probability to present its evidence at a hearing later this yr.

Tesla has not demonstrated that the California DMV “will necessarily be unable to produce relevant evidence,” Cox wrote within the order.

Tesla and the California Department of Motor Vehicles didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

– With support from Dana Hull.

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