Elon Musk’s electric car giant Tesla became a defendant in a proposed class action lawsuit on Wednesday, local U.S. time. The lawsuit alleges that the company misrepresented its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features and, as a result, misled the public.
According to the plaintiff’s allegations in the complaint, Tesla and Elon Musk have deceptively promoted their self-driving technology as fully functional or “just around the corner” since 2016, making their vehicles unsafe, despite knowing that the technology was not yet functional or did not exist.
The plaintiff, Briggs Matsko, said Tesla’s move was designed to get people “excited” about its cars, thereby attracting investment, boosting sales, avoiding bankruptcy and driving up its stock price to become the “dominant player” in the electric car space. “.
Matzko said, “Tesla has not yet produced anything close to a fully self-driving car.”
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, seeks to have Tesla compensate users who have purchased or leased Tesla vehicles with Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Autopilot since 2016, but does not specify the exact amount of damages.
Tesla has not yet responded to related requests for comment after the company disbanded its media relations department in 2020.
The lawsuit follows a July 28 lawsuit filed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles alleging that Tesla exaggerated the operation of its Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). The lawsuit proposes remedies that could include revocation of Tesla’s California driver’s license and seeks to have the company compensate drivers.
Tesla has previously said that the Autopilot feature allows the vehicle to steer, accelerate and brake in its lane, while the fully automated driving feature allows the vehicle to obey traffic signals and change lanes.
The company also said that both technologies “require active driver supervision” and that drivers need to keep their hands on the wheel and remain “completely focused” and “cannot allow the vehicle to (fully rely on) Autopilot “.
The plaintiff in the above lawsuit, Matzko, from Rancho Murieta, California, claims he paid a $5,000 premium for enhanced Autopilot functionality when he purchased his 2018 Tesla Model X.
He also said that Tesla drivers who received the software update “actually acted like untrained test engineers” and found “countless problems” while driving, including driving into the opposite lane, running red lights, and failing to make regular turns.
Since 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened 38 special investigations into Tesla crashes believed to have involved “advanced driver assistance systems. In total, these crashes have reportedly resulted in 19 fatalities.