Tesla Sued By Drivers Over Alleged False Autopilot, Full Self-Driving Claims

Tesla Inc is being sued in a proposed class action accusing the electric vehicles firm of misleading the public by falsely advertising its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features, Reuters reported.

The complaint accuses Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk of having since 2016 deceptively advertised the technology as fully functioning or "just around the corner" despite knowing that the technology did not work or was nonexistent, and made vehicles unsafe, the newswire said.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco seeks unspecified damages for people who since 2016 bought or leased Tesla vehicles with Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features.

Reuters said that Briggs Matsko, the named plaintiff, alleges that Tesla did this to "generate excitement" about its vehicles, attract investments, boost sales, avoid bankruptcy, drive up its stock price and become a "dominant player" in electric vehicles.

The lawsuit follows complaints filed on July 28, 2022, by California's Department of Motor Vehicles accusing Tesla of overstating how well its advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) worked. Remedies there could include suspending Tesla's license in California, and requiring restitution to drivers, Reuters reported.

Tesla has said Autopilot enables vehicles to steer, accelerate and brake within their lanes, while Full Self-Driving lets vehicles obey traffic signals and change lanes.

It has also said both technologies "require active driver supervision", with a "fully attentive" driver whose hands are on the wheel, "and do not make the vehicle autonomous".

Since 2016, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened 38 special investigations of Tesla crashes believed to involve ADAS, with 19 deaths reported in the crashes.