June 16, 2024
News

Owners can sue Tesla for promises of imminent full self-driving technology that have yet to materialize

Elon Musk’s and Tesla’s deceptions regarding the readiness of true fully autonomous vehicles are beginning to have consequences. A judge has recently denied the Austin, Texas-based automaker’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit accusing the company of deceiving owners – leading them to believe their vehicles would soon possess self-driving capabilities. It is important to note that this is separate from the inaccurately named “Full Self-Driving” program currently offered on Tesla vehicles, which are still operating on a Level II autonomy system.

The national class action lawsuit revolves around the 2016 video that inaccurately portrays what Autopilot and FSD are capable of, as reported by Reuters. The video claims that true full self-driving is “just around the corner,” enticing owners to pay extra for these features.

According to Reuters, U.S. District Judge Rita Lin in San Francisco ruled that owners could proceed with claims of negligence and fraud, to the extent that they relied on Tesla’s assurances regarding the vehicles’ hardware and their ability to drive coast-to-coast across the U.S.

Although no final decision has been made, Lin stated that “if Tesla intended to imply that its hardware was adequate for achieving high or full automation, the complaint alleges sufficient falsity.”

In a partial victory for Tesla, Judge Lin dismissed some other claims in the lawsuit filed by Thomas LoSavio, a retired attorney in California. LoSavio claims to have paid an $8,000 premium for Full Self-Driving capabilities on a Model S in 2017. It should be noted that FSD was previously priced at up to $15,000 before settling at its current $8,000 cost. LoSavio believed that the system would enhance his driving safety as he aged.

Years have passed, and Tesla is still far from being even remotely close to producing a fully autonomous vehicle, as per Reuters. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for individuals who have purchased or leased Teslas since 2016 with Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving.

This legal action has been a long time coming for Musk, Tesla, and those who bought into these falsehoods. Earlier this year, Musk reiterated his commitment to autonomy. Here are his statements and the current status of the situation, as reported by Bloomberg:

Musk affirmed in April that Tesla is striving for autonomy with full determination, while introducing a new self-driving vehicle concept known as the robotaxi. Musk has been making grand claims about autonomy for more than a decade, convincing customers to pay substantial amounts for its Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature. However, the name is misleading — FSD demands constant monitoring and does not grant vehicles autonomy. Regardless, Musk has repeatedly claimed that it is on the brink of matching its label.

In the meantime, the company is under scrutiny for whether issues with its Autopilot driver-assistance functionality have played a role in fatal accidents, as well as facing regulatory inquiries and lawsuits alleging exaggeration of its progress. Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiated an investigation into whether the recall of over 2 million vehicles by the EV manufacturer adequately addressed safety concerns related to Autopilot.

Previously, Tesla stated that Autopilot allows vehicles to steer, accelerate, and brake within their lanes, whereas Full Self-Driving enables vehicles to follow traffic signals and change lanes. It appears that these vehicles are now changing lanes right into a courtroom. HEYO!

FAQs

What claims were dismissed in the lawsuit against Tesla?

Some claims in the lawsuit, led by Thomas LoSavio, were dismissed by Judge Lin.

What does the lawsuit seek damages for?

The lawsuit seeks damages for individuals who purchased or leased Teslas since 2016 with Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot, and Full Self-Driving features.

What did Elon Musk reaffirm earlier this year regarding autonomy?

Elon Musk reiterated his commitment to autonomy and introduced a new self-driving vehicle concept called the robotaxi.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the lawsuit against Tesla for misleading claims about self-driving capabilities is moving forward, with some claims being dismissed while others are proceeding. It is evident that the road to fully autonomous vehicles is still far off for Tesla, despite the company’s promises and marketing of features like Full Self-Driving. The legal battle underscores the importance of transparency and accuracy in the development and marketing of autonomous technology.

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