Tesla’s False Advertising Case on Self-Driving Tech to Go to Trial (Electrek)

Tesla’s False Advertising Case on Self-Driving Tech to Go to Trial

Tuesday, June 11th, 2024 Fraud Legislation & Regulation Litigation Technology

A California court case accusing Tesla of false advertising over its full self-driving (FSD) technology will proceed to trial, a judge ruled today. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) began investigating Tesla in 2021 for misleading advertisements about its FSD capabilities. Despite Tesla’s attempts to dismiss the case, the court decided there was enough evidence to move forward.

The DMV’s inquiry revealed discrepancies between Tesla’s public statements and its communications with regulators. Tesla argued that its long-standing ability to market FSD should continue and claimed that the case violated its free speech rights, which courts have historically not extended to false advertising.

This decision follows a similar ruling in May, where a federal judge allowed a class action lawsuit against Tesla for not delivering promised automation features to proceed. The company is also under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for potential securities fraud linked to its FSD claims.

Tesla has labeled its driver-assist software as "Autopilot" and "Full Self-Driving" (FSD). While "Autopilot" suggests a need for driver attention, "Full Self-Driving" implies complete autonomy, which has not been achieved. Recently, Tesla adjusted its terminology to "Full Self-Driving (Supervised)" to clarify that driver supervision is still required.

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