Tesla Under Criminal Investigation Over Bold Self-Driving Claims
Tesla is currently facing a criminal investigation over the company’s claims about the capabilities of the self-driving system equipped in its electric vehicles.
According to Reuters which cited individuals familiar with the matter, the Department of Justice has been investigating Tesla since last year after it was discovered that Autopilot was engaged during a number of high-profile fatal crashes involving the automaker’s EVs. Specifically, the DOJ is looking into the unsupported marketing claims made by Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk about the capabilities of the self-driving system, which may have misled consumers, regulators, and investors.
Since 2016, the Tesla CEO has been boldly touting the capabilities of its Autopilot system, going as far as to exclaim the self-driving feature is “probably better” than a human driver behind the wheel. “The person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons. He is not doing anything. The car is driving itself,” reads a current video on Tesla’s website. The EV maker, does, however, post an explicit warning that drivers need to keep their hands on the wheel when Autopilot is engaged and be prepared to take control of the car at all times.
Tesla’s mixed messages have previously faced scrutiny by both federal and California regulators, who argue that such claims give drivers a misleading sense of security, prompting some to treat their Teslas as fully autonomous regardless of the subsequent dangerous consequences. However, the DOJ’s current probe is not indicative that criminal charges against Tesla will result.
Information for this briefing was found via Reuters. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.