Consumer groups asks U.S. agency to probe Tesla ‘Autopilot’ ads

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Two U.S. shopper advocacy teams urged the Federal Commerce Fee on Wednesday to analyze what they referred to as Tesla Inc’s “misleading and deceptive” use of the title Autopilot for its assisted-driving know-how.

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla dealership is seen in West Drayton, simply outdoors London, Britain, February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Picture

The Heart for Auto Security and Client Watchdog, each non-profit teams, despatched a letter to the FTC saying that buyers may very well be misled into pondering, primarily based on Tesla’s advertising and marketing and promoting, that Autopilot makes a Tesla car self-driving.

Autopilot, launched in 2015, is an enhanced cruise-control system that partially automates steering and braking. Tesla states in its proprietor’s guide and in disclaimers that when the system is engaged, a driver should maintain fingers on the wheel always whereas utilizing Autopilot.

However within the letter, the teams stated {that a} sequence of advertisements and press releases from Tesla in addition to statements by the corporate’s chief government, Elon Musk, “mislead and deceive clients into believing that Autopilot is safer and extra succesful than it’s recognized to be.”

“Tesla is the one automaker to market its Stage 2 automobiles as ‘self-driving’, and the title of its driver help suite of options, Autopilot, connotes full autonomy,” the letter learn.

“The burden now falls on the FTC to analyze Tesla’s unfair and misleading practices so that buyers have correct data, perceive the restrictions of Autopilot, and conduct themselves appropriately and safely,” it learn.

Two U.S. Tesla drivers have died in crashes during which Autopilot was engaged. The newest crash, in March, is being investigated by security regulators.

Tesla has stated the usage of Autopilot leads to 40 % fewer crashes, a declare the U.S. Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration repeated in a 2017 report on the primary fatality, which occurred in Might 2016. Earlier this month, nonetheless, the company stated regulators had not assessed the effectiveness of the know-how.

Final month, one other group, Shoppers Union, the advocacy division of Client Studies, referred to as on Tesla to enhance the protection of its Autopilot system.

Writing by Alexandria Sage; Enhancing by Leslie Adler

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