According to a Reuters report, the US Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into Tesla over its Autopilot system and self-driving claims.
Tesla is now under criminal investigation in the United States over the company’s claims that its electric vehicles are capable of driving themselves, according to a report published on Wednesday by Reuters. This isn’t the first time Tesla has been the subject of such investigations, as the company has been accused of lying about Autopilot performance and fully autonomous driving for years now.
The criminal investigation, reportedly launched by the Justice Department last year, focuses on Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance software after more than a dozen crashes, some of which fatal, occurred to Tesla. Earlier this year, the NHTSA, the American federal agency in charge of road safety, had also opened a special investigation after two fatal crashes.
Tesla will have to answer to justice
According to three unnamed sources who spoke to Reuters, aims to determine whether Tesla “ misled consumers, investors and regulators by making unsubstantiated claims about the capabilities of its driver assistance technology “. Tesla has long promoted cars that can drive themselvesbefore finally admitting that the fully autonomous pilot was not ready to see the light of day.
However, Elon Musk has contradicted his own company numerous times when talking about Autopilot self-driving capabilities. Just a week ago, Musk claimed that a new update would bring ” fully autonomous driving and that it would allow Tesla drivers to drive “ to their work, to their friends, to the grocery store without touching the steering wheel “. Still, the company has issued warnings that drivers should maintain some semblance of vehicle control by keeping their hands on the wheel when the system is activated.
If the investigation finds that Tesla did in fact exaggerate the capabilities of its technology, the Justice Department could request criminal prosecution or civil penalties against the automaker or some of its executives. A decision is not expected anytime soon, as there is still a lot of work to be done, one of the sources explained. Two other simultaneous investigations involving Tesla slow the progress of the news.