Tesla promoting for its “Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving” options is misleading to customers and ought to be investigated by the Federal Trade Commission, two US senators stated Wednesday.
Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Ed Markey of Massachusetts referred to as on FTC Chair Lina Khan to open an investigation and take “appropriate enforcement action” in opposition to the Elon Musk-led automaker.
“Tesla’s marketing has repeatedly overstated the capabilities of its vehicles, and these statements increasingly pose a threat to motorists and other users of the road,” the senators wrote in a letter to Khan. “Their claims put Tesla drivers – and all of the traveling public – at risk of serious injury or death.”
FTC spokesperson Mitchell J. Katz advised The Post that the company “can confirm that we have received the letter, but will have nothing more to say.”
Tesla didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
The senators’ request comes simply two days after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated it had opened a proper investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot characteristic after a sequence of crashes with parked emergency autos.
The NHTSA stated it had recognized 11 crashes since 2018 wherein Teslas on Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control have hit autos with flashing lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board or cones warning of hazards. The investigation might result in a recall or different enforcement actions, the company stated.
In Blumenthal and Markey’s criticism, the senators pointed to a number of items of proof together with movies of Musk boasting over the previous two years that the company was imminently near deploying “full automation.”
“Tesla drivers listen to these claims and believe their vehicles are equipped to drive themselves – with potentially deadly consequences,” the senators wrote. “At least 11 people have died in fatal crashes with Autopilot activated since Tesla introduced the feature in 2015.”
The senators moreover pointed to YouTube movies of Tesla drivers from this year that allegedly present the company’s “Full Self-Driving” software malfunctioning and requiring human intervention.
“We are alarmed by the prospect of more drivers relying more frequently on systems that do not nearly deliver the expected level of safety,” the senators stated.
The request for an FTC investigation additionally echoes a probe from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which stated in May that it’s reviewing whether or not the automaker is violating a regulation that prohibits promoting autos as autonomous until they meet strict regulatory standards. The state company didn’t instantly reply to a request for an replace for the probe on Wednesday.
The senators’ name for an FTC probe comes at a clumsy time for Tesla, which is internet hosting a splashy “Autonomy Day” for buyers and the press on Thursday. Musk is anticipated to present a keynote with updates on Tesla’s self-driving options and different synthetic intelligence tasks, according to Electrek.