Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Tesla is being sued over Autopilot and Elon Musk’s Full Self-Driving Predictions

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Illustration of multiple red Tesla sedans on a black background.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

A lawsuit filed in San Francisco by a Tesla owner alleges that the automaker and its CEO/Technoking Elon Musk are “deceptive and misleading” the Autopilot and “Full Self-Driving” advanced driver assistance features available as paid software add-ons on to market (via Automotive News).

The Submit claims Tesla and Musk have “misled and misled consumers regarding the current capabilities of its ADAS” [advanced driver-assistance system] technology and by stating that it was constantly on cafe-madrid of perfecting that technology and finally fulfilling its promise to produce a fully self-driving car”, and that “contrary to Tesla’s repeated promises that within months it will be a fully self-driving car or a year, Tesla has never come close to achieving that goal.”

The plaintiff, Briggs Matsko, says he spent $5,000 for the package in 2018, like many Tesla drivers who paid thousands of dollars for Enhanced Autopilot. It was sold as a precursor to “Full Self-Driving” technology, a now $15,000 software add-on package that is still not ready to ship. Matsko is seeking class-action status for the lawsuit, while the company is already facing another class-action lawsuit targeting “phantom braking incidents” that have plagued the adaptive cruise control features on Tesla’s for years.

The lawsuit evokes Tesla’s terminology, including the name “Autopilot,” as well as Elon Musk’s public statements and tweets about the always-unfinished Full Self-Driving system. It specifically mentions Musk’s claim that an autonomous US cross-country trip will be conducted by 2018, and his 2019 claims of putting 1 million robotic axes on the road, saying, “In a year we will have more than a million cars with full self-driving, software…everything.”

The road trip was eventually shelved indefinitely, with Musk admitting that a specialized route to work was needed, saying he would have preferred the Autopilot team to focus on safety features. The robotic axes have not become reality.

As for fully self-driving, the lawsuit backs up its claims of fraud using this 2016 video released by Tesla — and still to be seen on its website – seemingly a Model X exiting a garage, driving through a city, dropping off the “driver”, then automatically finding a parallel parking space to wedge into. Reportedly, former Tesla engineers who were on hand to produce the video claimed the car used a pre-mapped and 3D mapped route — technology not built into any production Tesla.

The lawsuit also makes clear that not only are fully self-driving and autopilots misrepresented, but they are also dangerous. It references incidents such as the 2018 crash where a Model X on Autopilot crashed into a concrete barrier in California, killing the driver, or another where a Tesla on Autopilot crashed into the back of a stationary fire truck, prompting led to a federal investigation.

Matsko’s lawsuit says he is seeking “an injunctive relief that prohibits Tesla from continuing with its deceptive and deceptive marketing of its ADAS technology, refunding the money that Plaintiff and Class members paid for technology that Tesla promised but never delivered, and all available damages, including punitive damages to punish.” Tesla has used misleading and deceptive marketing for years to eventually establish itself as a dominant player in the electric vehicle market.”

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