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Lawsuit, possible license suspension loom for Tesla over alleged autonomous-vehicle deceptions

Original post made on Sep 19, 2022

Tesla has found itself on a collision course with state and federal agencies -- plus a customer who initiated a class-action lawsuit -- over allegations of misleading the public regarding its cars' self-driving capabilities.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 16, 2022, 5:49 PM

Comments (9)

Posted by BP
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 19, 2022 at 10:51 am

BP is a registered user.

I got duped into paying for the FSD option when I leased the model 3. Tesla declined to refund me the option after it was clear no meaningful functionality is going to be delivered for the duration of my lease.

Posted by NeilsonBuchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 19, 2022 at 11:02 am

NeilsonBuchanan is a registered user.

Hmm. I wonder if this issue will stir up Ralph Nader and his 1965 book Unsafe At Any Speed. How many people remember very complex Nader chapter in American history books? Never underestimate the power of trial attorneys.

Posted by William Hitchens
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 19, 2022 at 12:38 pm

William Hitchens is a registered user.

Finally Tesla is being held accountable for its, IMHO, slipshod, cheaply, poorly designed, and lethal "self-driving" software and hardware. IMHO, Musk is a megalomaniac conman who should start his own religion, just like Sci Fi writer did with Scientology --- and got very wealthy.

Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 19, 2022 at 1:04 pm

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

Thank you, Sue Dremann, and the Palo Alto Weekly, for this fantastic piece of reporting.

Those videos on the Tesla website have been claiming that autonomous driving was "right around the corner!" for years, and Tesla has taken countless $15,000 payments for the tech, even though Tesla had to know that the functionality was nowhere close to prime time. And if Tesla did not know that in 2016, it sure knew it in 2018, when numerous accidents, several deadly, had been reported. Come 2022, and is Tesla still taking $15,000 for a product that does not, and has never, worked? If so, Tesla is liable.

(I also don't like Tesla's tracking technology, as I'd rather Elon Musk not know exactly where my family is. Plus I think there are ample great alternatives on the market -- we bought an all-electric Mini Cooper ES to replace my 2012 Leaf last year, as well as a Ford Mustang Mach-E GT, both of which are all electric and high-performing ... although it's better not to drive!)

Tesla has been a victory of marketing, and I don't blame the customers for buying into it. Unfortunately, Tesla's marketing, while arguably phenomenal, has overreached. This sounds like a winning lawsuit, and I think that the plaintiffs, the DMV, and the other government regulators are correct that when it comes to Tesla's self-driving functionality, Tesla crossed the line from aggressive advertising, to intentional misrepresentation.

I wouldn't mind Tesla being shut down in California, given the large number legally compliant options, but to me, at very least Tesla should not be allowed to sell the $15,000 upgrades -- and it should be forced to reimburse all customers who paid.

NB: although Tesla moved its "official" headquarters to Texas, it has been *expanding* in Palo Alto. According to reliable news sources, Tesla is moving into the former HP site off Page Mill:

Web Link

Web Link

Posted by Mark
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 19, 2022 at 1:08 pm

Mark is a registered user.

Has worked well for me. I use as directed: let the car drive AND be prepared for problems at all times.

Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 19, 2022 at 7:26 pm

maguro_01 is a registered user.

The accident in 2018 in Mountain View is not a good accident to reference. Huang, if memory serves, hit a steel safety barrier collapsed from a previous accident and not repaired. It ripped the speeding car in half as can be seen. It was clear that Huang was not following the instructions to supervise the car or himself tried to change the car's direction too late. Too close to the barrier a car would lose grip as there was small debris around it. I drove and continue to drive through there as a Mountain View resident. That "Y" is where if you go left you go on 85 to Cupertino, if right then you continue on 101. It's no place to speed. That was a terrible accident but too much of the blame, IMHO, must be with the driver who was a software engineer at Apple so not a naïve user. There were doubtless suits filed after the accident with more information. Perhaps they disagree.

Tesla says that their system net saves people. That is, its accident rate per million miles is lower than drivers. They are also trying to do non-geofenced full self driving - the most difficult problem, apparently not yet sufficiently solved. It is true that a zero-accident system will likely never be devised though the issue here is advertising. But tort lawyers will demand zero, of course, though the states would not given the endless body count. IMO, Tesla was in error in getting rid of front facing radar in favor of cameras only. Hitting big objects or phantom braking would be reduced.

Recently after dark with a little rain I was stopped at a light and an almost invisible pedestrian crossed, dark, non-reflective clothing head to foot. I doubt that a camera would see him unless it's good into infrared.

Posted by Jennifer
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2022 at 6:14 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Tesla does need to be held accountable for misleading consumers, but consumers need to wise up. If you trust self-driving tech, you're naive. If technology could be trusted your computer wouldn't have the issues it has, your TV wouldn't lose connection during a good movie or ballgame and employers wouldn't have to hire an IT department.

The average motorist with a clean driving record is hard enough to trust on the road yet alone "self-driving." What were consumers thinking?

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 20, 2022 at 6:59 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Thanks for the article. Remember that Musk/Tesla has as little regard for health and safety of its workers as for its customers. Remember that during the height of the pandemic it refused to let its workers distance themselves and lots of them got sick? And then there's the hostile workplace environment with all the race and sex discrimination suits.

Posted by Mark Lawrence
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 23, 2022 at 1:28 pm

Mark Lawrence is a registered user.

What I'm wondering is when the safety authorities will investigate the driver-distraction issue of that touchscreen-only dashboard on the Model 3 etc. My Leaf, like nearly every car (electric or not) on the road, has all the important controls (headlights, wipers, defroster, heat, AC) operable by touch or at worst by a brief glance. I don't want to be poking a touchscreen at 70mph and I don't really want to share the freeway with someone who is.

Tesla has the best batteries and by far the best charging network, but for me that touchscreen is a deal-breaker. Do we have any reliable statistics on driver-distraction crashes in Teslas?

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