Tesla is being sued over Autopilot and Elon Musk’s Full Self-Driving predictions
Did Tesla CEO Musk and company fail to deliver on once-promised benefits?
San Francisco, 9/21/2022
Tesla will have paid thousands of dollars for a feature that is not yet ready.
A lawsuit filed by a Tesla owner in San Francisco alleges that the automaker and its CEO/engineer Elon Musk “deceptively and misleadingly” marketed Autopilot and the “Full Self-Driving” advanced driver assistance features, which are available as paid add-on software (via Automotive News).
The lawsuit alleges that Tesla and Musk “deceived and misled consumers about the current capabilities of its Advanced Driver-Assistance System (ADAS) technology by claiming that Tesla was constantly on the cusp of perfecting this technology and could finally fulfill its promise to produce a fully self-driving car,” and that “contrary to Tesla’s repeated promises that it would have a fully self-driving car within months or a year, Tesla has never come close to achieving that goal.
The plaintiff, Briggs Matsko, says he spent about $5,000 on the package in 2018, like many Tesla drivers who paid thousands of dollars for Enhanced Autopilot. That was sold as a precursor to “Full Self-Driving” technology, a now-$15,000 add-on software package that still hasn’t been completed. Matsko is seeking a class action lawsuit, while the company is already facing another class action lawsuit involving “phantom braking incidents” that have plagued Tesla’s adaptive cruise control for years.
The lawsuit relates to the terminology of Tesla’s features, including the name “Autopilot,” as well as Elon Musk’s public statements and tweets about the still-unfinished Full Self-Driving system. Specifically, Musk’s claim of autonomous driving across the U.S. in 2018 and his claim of putting a million robotaxis on the road in 2019, saying, “In a year we will have more than a million cars with full self-driving, software…. everything.
The road trip was eventually postponed indefinitely, as Musk admitted that it needed a special route to work and that he preferred to let the Autopilot team focus on safety features. Robotaxis have not become a reality.
Tesla’s for Full Self-Driving, the lawsuit backs up its fraud claims with this 2016 video released by Tesla – still available on Tesla’s website – that appears to show a Model X leaving a garage, driving through a city, dropping off the “driver” and then automatically finding a parallel parking spot to wedge itself into. Allegedly, former Tesla engineers who were present during the production of the video claimed that the car uses a pre-calculated and 3D mapped route – technology that is not built into any product.
The lawsuit also claims that Full Self-Driving and Autopilot are not only misrepresented, but dangerous. It cites incidents such as the 2018 accident in which a Model X on Autopilot crashed into a concrete barrier in California, killing the driver, or another case in which a Tesla on Autopilot crashed into the rear of a stationary fire truck, leading to federal investigations,
Matsko’s lawsuit seeks “an injunction prohibiting Tesla from continuing its deceptive and misleading marketing of its ADAS technology, restitution of the money Plaintiff and Class members paid for technology that Tesla promised but never delivered, and all available compensatory damages, including punitive damages, to punish Tesla for using deceptive and misleading marketing for years to eventually establish itself as a dominant player in the electric vehicle market.