Two US senators on Wednesday urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Tesla, saying the company has misled consumers and endangered the public by marketing its driving automation systems as fully self-driving.
“Tesla and (CEO) Mr. (Elon) Musk’s repeated overestimation of their vehicle’s capabilities … puts Tesla drivers – and all the traveling public – at risk of serious injury or death,” said Senate Democrats Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey in a statement. a letter to newly appointed FTC chairman Lina Khan.
“Tesla drivers listen to these claims and believe their vehicles are equipped to drive themselves — with potentially deadly consequences.”
The letter, which came after the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration opened an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot Monday, increased pressure on Tesla.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Autopilot is a standard feature for Tesla cars and allows the vehicles to keep a distance from vehicles in front. Tesla sells its advanced driver assistance features such as lane changing and automatic parking under the name Full Self-Driving (FSD) for $1,000 (approximately Rs. 74,260), although the system does not make its vehicles fully autonomous.
Musk, who has nearly 60 million Twitter followers, uses the term FSD often, usually referring to Tesla’s suite of features, but many consumers think of it as fully autonomous driving. Musk has touted how secure the technology is and promised that his vehicles would soon be self-driving, only to miss his own deadlines.
NHTSA said in June it has opened 30 investigations into Tesla accidents since 2016 where the agency suspects advanced driver assistance systems were in use.
The NHTSA said in a 2018 letter to Tesla that the company had made “misleading statements” about the safety of its Model 3 and confused consumers. The agency referred the matter to the FTC to investigate whether Tesla’s statements constituted “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.”
© Thomson Reuters 2021