Regulators with the California Department of Motor Vehicles have targeted Tesla’s license to sell cars statewide after accusing Tesla of using deceptive business practices. The dispute comes down to how the company has marketed what it calls their “Full Self-Driving Capability.” Tesla’s marketing claims that cars featuring “autopilot” or “Full Self-Driving” capable which come with a $12,000.00 cost have the ability to act autonomously.
One Tesla advertisement says “all you will need to do is get in and tell the car where to go.” Another advertisement says “if you don’t say anything your car will look at your calendar and take you to the assumed destination. Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigating urban streets, complex intersections and freeways. To your destination – when you arrive at your destination, simply step out at the entrance and your car will enter park mode, automatically search for a spot and park itself. A tap on your phone summons it back to you.”
Tesla cars could not at the time of those advertisements and cannot now “operate without a driver so the marketing violates existing California law about advertisement using untrue claims to market their products” according to the complaint. The penalty for the violations may include suspension or revocation of the company’s license to sell cars statewide as well as being ordered to pay restitution to customers who were deceived by the marketing.
Elon Musk said in an interview that the creation of self-driving technology was essential to the financial success of the company. Musk went on about self-driving technology in an interview on the YouTube channel Telsa Owners Silicon Valley “that’s essential. It’s really the difference between Tesla being worth a lot of money or worth basically zero.” Tesla has accounted for 273 of nearly 400 crashes involving driver-assist systems in the last year. In 2019 Musk said he was certain that by the end of that year your Tesla will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention.
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