Investigate Autopilot, Please: Consumer Groups

By Kristen Lee, JALPONIK

July 26, 2019

Here are the players involved: The Center for Auto Safety and Consumer Watchdog (both consumer advocacy groups), the Federal Trade Commission, some state attorneys and Tesla. And it’s about, you guessed it, Autopilot.

Yesterday, the two advocacy groups put out a statement, renewing their call to the FTC and the Attorneys General of California, New York, Florida, Michigan, Utah and Massachusetts to investigate the “dangerously misleading and deceptive practices and representations of Tesla Motors” over the “safety and capabilities of its Autopilot feature.”

They claim:

Center for Auto Safety and Consumer Watchdog warned that Tesla’s representations of its Autopilot feature continue to violate Section 5 of the FTC Act, as well as similar state statutes, because they are materially deceptive and are likely to mislead consumers into reasonably believing that their vehicles have self-driving or autonomous capabilities. The letters state that Tesla’s and Elon Musk’s public statements regarding Autopilot mislead and deceive consumers.

The agencies site the recent crash that resulted in the death of a Tesla driver from March in Florida, in which Autopilot was allegedly found to be engaged.

I’ll just say it again because I guess it needs to be said. Autopilot is not a self-driving function. It’s a very advanced driver assistance feature. When you turn it on, you are not excused from paying attention to the road and you are not supposed to remove your hands from the wheel.

We do not have self-driving cars yet. People need to stop acting like we do.