Tesla under investigation in California for autopilot safety, misleading marketing

The office of California Attorney General Rob Bonta wants information on Tesla’s self-driving technology and marketing strategies, according to CNBC.

Mr. Bonta’s office contacted a former Tesla employee, who has yet to be named, inquiring about an investigation into the company. The employee has apparently been outspoken, during and after his time at Tesla, about problems with the company’s self-driving technology.

The office also contacted Tesla customer Greg Wester, who owns a Tesla Model 3. Mr. Wester filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission in 2022 concerning the car’s phantom braking, which causes some of Tesla’s self-driving cars to stop for no apparent reason. The issue has long been a thorn in the side of Tesla fans and regulators.

Mr. Wester told the FTC in his complaint that he felt misled by the advertising for Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” cars. He said he paid thousands of dollars for a driver assistance program, not a self-driving program.

Tesla’s FSD technology has been under scrutiny since the firm launched it last year. Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, promised to roll out the technology virtually and install it in thousands of cars around the world. The technology has not been perfect, however, and Tesla has been the subject of investigations over mistakes in the machines.

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has been investigating the FSD technology in Tesla’s cars for years and accused the company of deceiving its customers. The federal government has made similar claims during its own investigation, with some saying the cars shouldn’t be allowed on highways.

Several former employees have testified that the leadup to the launch of the technology was rocky, claiming Mr. Musk and others pushed out FSD before it was fully ready. Although it bills the technology as self-driving, the company says an attentive driver must be behind the wheel and does not recommend ignoring the road while the car is operational.


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