Tesla Inc was sued Wednesday in a proposed class action lawsuit accusing Elon Musk’s electric car company of misleading the public by falsely advertising its Autopilot and full self-driving features.
The complaint accused Tesla and Musk of having since 2016 misleadingly advertised the technology as fully functional or “just around the corner” when they knew the technology was non-working or non-existent and made vehicles unsafe.
Briggs Matsko, the named plaintiff, said Tesla did so to “generate excitement” for its vehicles, attract investment, boost sales, avoid bankruptcy, boost its stock price and become a “dominant player in electric vehicles.
“Tesla hasn’t produced anything yet that comes close to a fully self-driving car,” Matsko said.
Lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco seeks unspecified damages for people who, since 2016, have purchased or leased Tesla vehicles with Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features .
Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It disbanded its media relations department in 2020.
The lawsuit follows complaints filed July 28 by the California Department of Motor Vehicles accusing Tesla of overdoing the operation of its advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).
Remedies could include suspending Tesla’s license in California and requiring restitution to drivers.
Tesla said Autopilot lets vehicles steer, accelerate and brake in their lanes, while full autonomous driving lets vehicles obey traffic lights and change lanes.
He also said that both technologies “require active driver supervision”, with a “fully attentive” driver whose hands are on the steering wheel, “and do not make the vehicle autonomous”.
Matsko, of Rancho Murieta, Calif., said he paid a $5,000 premium for his 2018 Tesla Model X to get the upgraded Autopilot.
He also said that Tesla drivers who receive software updates “effectively act like untrained test engineers” and have found “a myriad of issues,” including vehicles swerving into oncoming traffic. , run red lights and fail to make routine turns.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has since 2016 opened 38 special investigations into Tesla crashes believed to involve ADAS. Nineteen fatalities were reported in these crashes.