California DMV Investigates Tesla Over Elon Musk's FSD Claims

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Photo: Tesla
The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) appears to be investigating Tesla over CEO Elon Musk's claims about his company's full self-driving (FSD) technology.
According to Los Angeles Times, DMV is looking into whether Tesla misled customers by promoting its "full self-driving capability." The news comes after Tesla engineers recently admitted to the DMV that Musk had exaggerated the FSD system's capabilities on social media. FSD Beta is offered as an Autopilot upgrade for $10,000, and a car equipped with it is able to change lanes, park, steer on streets and stop at signs and traffic lights on its own, the company says.

Earlier in March, Tesla admitted to the DMV that, despite the name, neither Autopilot nor the FSD is fully autonomous and requires active driver supervision. The company is currently still working with autonomy level 2, said the head of the autopilot software, CJ Moore, to DMV investigators in a conference call. At this level, the driver still needs to keep a constant eye on the road and be ready to take control at any time.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not control vehicle advertisements, but the DMV's own regulations could authorize it to sanction manufacturers who falsely advertise a vehicle as autonomous. A DMV spokesperson told Los Angeles Times that possible penalties could include the suspension or revocation of DMV autonomous vehicle deployment permits, as well as manufacturer and dealer licenses if the DMV finds that Tesla is misleading customers.

Musk has long been criticized for exaggerating the system's capabilities. In addition, the use of brand names such as Autopilot and FSD has also contributed to a situation in which Tesla consumers are led to believe that their vehicles can drive themselves.

Several fatalities have been recorded involving Tesla's Autopilot, with more than 20 still under investigation by the federal agency. The 29th case happened on May 5th, and it involves a Tesla Model 3 that allegedly had its Autopilot system activated when it hit a truck in the middle of the night near L.A.

While Musk has yet to produce a fully automated vehicle, he has stated that a completely new version of its FSD package is on its way and will be available no later than June. "Tesla couldn't say if the rate of improvement would make it to L5 by end of calendar year," and until we get the see it, the company will be testing its features on the street.

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About the author: Florina Spînu
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Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
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