The US Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into Tesla over its Autopilot system and claims of self-driving, according to a Reuters report.
Tesla is now under criminal investigation in the United States over the company’s claims that its electric vehicles are able to drive themselves, according to a report published by Reuters on Wednesday. This isn’t the first time Tesla has been the subject of such scrutiny, as the company has been accused for years of lying about Autopilot performance and fully autonomous driving.
The criminal investigation reportedly launched by the Justice Department last year focuses on Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance software after more than a dozen accidents, some of which were fatal, occurred at Tesla. Earlier this year, the NHTSA, the US federal agency responsible for road safety, launched a special investigation following two fatal accidents.
Tesla has to answer in court
According to three unnamed sources who spoke to Reuters, the aim is to determine whether Tesla ” Misleading consumers, investors and regulators by making unsubstantiated claims about the capabilities of its driver-assistance technology “. Tesla has long promoted cars that can drive themselvesbefore finally admitting that the fully autonomous pilot wasn’t ready to see the light of day.
However, Elon Musk has contradicted his own company multiple times when discussing Autopilot’s self-driving capabilities. Just a week ago, Musk claimed that a new update ” fully autonomous driving and that it would allow Tesla drivers to drive” to her work, to her friends, to the grocery store without touching the steering wheel “. Still, the company has issued warnings that drivers should maintain some semblance of vehicle control by keeping their hands on the wheel when the system is activated.
If the investigation finds that Tesla did indeed exaggerate the capabilities of its technology, the Justice Department could file a request Criminal prosecution or civil penalties against the automaker or some of its executives. A decision is not expected in the foreseeable future as there is still a lot to do, explained one of the sources. Two more simultaneous investigations involving Tesla are slowing the news’s progress.