DOJ Launches Criminal Probe Examining Tesla’s Autopilot Crashes



the US Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation of Tesla following a series of crashes and deaths related to the autopilot system. Initially, customers had to pay extra for the system, priced between $5,000 and $8,000 depending on features. The case could result in criminal charges against individual executives or the company as a whole, reports said. However, Tesla’s autopilot system is not true self-driving




Tesla has leaned into autonomous driving like few other automakers with its Autopilot system, which has been a core feature of its vehicles since 2013. However, that push could get the company in trouble. A new report says that the US Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation of Tesla following a series of crashes and deaths related to Autopilot.


Initially, Tesla required customers to pay extra for Autopilot, priced between $5,000 and $8,000, depending on features. As it expanded to produce less expensive vehicles, Tesla included the basic Autopilot feature set for no additional charge. As more drivers started using Autopilot, we started to see reports of accidents where Autopilot was in complete control of the car. Tesla has since expanded the “Full Self-Driving (FSD)” features of its vehicles to make the cars more reliable and able to drive themselves in more situations. And yet, Autopilot is not true self-driving.


At issue is the way Tesla advertises and discusses Autopilot. While the company’s more careful disclaimers note that drivers have to keep their hands on the wheel, anyone who has driven in a Tesla knows that the vehicle will often let you zone out for long periods of time without any nudges. And then there’s the way Tesla CEO Elon Musk talks about Autopilot. A promotional video on Tesla’s website features Musk saying that the driver is only there “for legal reasons,” and “the car is driving itself.” Reuters reports that the DOJ investigation started last year and could be a more serious threat to Tesla than the various state-level investigations already pending. The case could result in criminal charges against individual executives or the company as a whole, sources have said. However, charges would most likely require that evidence of intentional misrepresentation is uncovered in the probe. If not, Tesla can always point to its disclaimers as legal cover, even if Musk is out there making wild claims about Autopilot’s capabilities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also investigating crashes in which Teslas were in Autopilot mode.


Tesla does not have a media office — it only has Elon Musk, who has been too busy closing his Twitter acquisition to tweet any statements about this report. This comes as Tesla has been paring back the sensors in its cars, which has made some Autopilot features unavailable as the company works to update the system to rely solely on camera input. Tesla is not alone in struggling to perfect self-driving technology. After years and billions of dollars, big players like Google and Uber are still struggling to make vehicles that can drive as well as humans.

Teslaにはメディアオフィスがありません。ElonMuskしかありません。Elon Muskは、Twitterの買収を終了してこのレポートに関する声明をツイートするのに忙しすぎました。これは、テスラが自動車のセンサーを一掃しているため、カメラの入力のみに依存するようにシステムを更新するために会社が機能するため、いくつかのオートパイロット機能が利用できないようにしました。テスラは、完璧な自動運転技術に苦労しているだけではありません。何十億ドルもの後、GoogleやUberのような大企業は、人間だけでなく運転できる車両を作るのに苦労しています。

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