Drivers sue Tesla over false Autopilot and FSD software ads

Another day, another lawsuit against Tesla and its advanced driver assistance systems.

A lawsuit was filed Wednesday in court for the Northern District of California alleging that Tesla’s ADAS systems cause vehicles to run red lights, miss turns and veer into traffic, while costing thousands of dollars. dollars to Tesla owners.

Tesla vehicles come standard with an ADAS known as Autopilot. However, owners were able to upgrade the system to versions with more features, at a cost. Tesla also sells Enhanced Autopilot and so-called Full Self-Driving software. FSD continues to rise in price and is now $15,000.

Briggs Matsko, the plaintiff named in the lawsuit, said he paid $5,000 for his 2018 Tesla Model X to get the upgraded Autopilot.

The complaint alleges that Tesla and its CEO, Elon Musk, have misleadingly advertised its ADAS technology as either fully functional or on the verge of being “resolved” since 2016, despite knowing full well that the capabilities of Autopilot and FSDs don’t live up to the hype. .

“Although these promises have been proven to be false time and time again, Tesla and Musk have continued to make them to gain media attention, to mislead consumers into believing it has unrivaled advanced technology. and to establish itself as a leading player in the rapidly growing electric vehicle market,” the lawsuit reads.

This lawsuit follows a series of other complaints and allegations, including increased attention and demands from state and federal agencies.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles also accused Tesla in July of having making false advertisements for its Autopilot and FSD systems. Last month, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) asked the electric vehicle maker for more information about its cabin camera as part of an ongoing investigation into 830,000 Teslas that include Autopilot. NHTSA is investigating 16 crashes in which Tesla owners potentially engaged ADAS and then crashed into stationary emergency vehicles.

In late August, a Tesla Model 3 owner filed a lawsuit against the automaker alleging that a defect in The autopilot caused involuntary braking. And a court in Palm Beach County, Florida, recently set a date in February for a jury to hear evidence over who was at fault in a 2019 crash involving Autopilot that killed a father of three.

As with the Matsko class action lawsuit, the main issue at stake in Tesla’s lineup of lawsuits isn’t even necessarily the capabilities of the technology — it’s the promises Tesla and Musk made to loyal fanatics and the brand of the systems that rock the drivers. in a false sense of security and carelessness.

Tesla’s Autopilot is advertised with features like traffic-aware cruise control and lane assist. Improved Autopilot includes Navigate, which actively guides a car from the on-ramp to the off-ramp of a freeway, automatic lane changes, and Smart Summon, which is meant to navigate complex environments and parking spaces to bring a driver’s car there. A beta version of FSD, which is active in around 100,000 vehicles and is now available on city streets, claims to do all of the above and more, including identifying stop signs and traffic lights and automatically slowing a car to a stop on approach.

While Tesla’s website says drivers should stay alert and maintain control of the vehicle, Matsko and others, like California’s DMV, say these warnings contradict Tesla and Musk’s source of bravado about the Autopilot and FSD autonomous capabilities.

“Tesla has yet to produce anything that comes close to a fully self-driving car,” the complaint reads. “Instead, Tesla is offering ‘updates’ to its experimental FSD Beta software to a small minority of Tesla owners, who effectively act like untrained test engineers testing experimental software on public roads.”

Matsko is seeking an injunction that would prohibit Tesla from continuing its “deceptive and deceptive marketing of ADAS technology”, the return of the money that the plaintiff and class members paid for the technology that “Tesla promised but never delivered” , and damages, including punitive damages to punish the automaker for its deceptive practices aimed at establishing itself as a dominant player in the electric vehicle market.

The plaintiff is proposing a nationwide class action, with a California-only class action alternative, which the court will decide, according to one of the attorneys representing the plaintiff. That decision usually takes at least six months after a complaint is filed and often more than a year, he said, noting that “many other drivers” have contacted the company to participate in the lawsuit.

Tesla, which has disbanded its press office, could not be reached for comment.

This article has been updated with information from plaintiff’s attorneys.