last week, Musk Tesla said the company will soon release an updated version of its “fully self-driving” software that will allow users of Tesla’s cars to travel without touching the steering wheel.
A video on the company’s website says: “The person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons. He does nothing. The car drives itself.
However, the company has expressly warned drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and control their vehicles when using Autopilot.
Tesla’s technology is designed to assist with steering, braking, acceleration and lane changes, but its features “do not make the vehicle autonomous,” the company says on its website.
Sources said the warnings would complicate any case the judiciary wants to bring against the agency.
Tesla did not comment. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
Musk said autopilot problems occur when customers use the system against instructions.
The judicial inquiry represents the most serious investigation against the company because of the possibility of criminal charges against the automaker and its executives.
As part of the investigation, Justice Department prosecutors in Washington and San Francisco are examining whether Tesla misled consumers, investors and regulators by making unsubstantiated claims about the capabilities of its driver assistance technology.
The Justice Department investigation is far from recommending any action because it competes with other DOJ investigations involving Tesla, one of the sources said.
The Justice Department may face challenges in making its case because of Tesla’s warnings against over-reliance on Autopilot.
In August 2021, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into a series of crashes involving Teslas equipped with Autopilot.
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