Tesla And Elon Musk Under Fire After Senators Slam Its Autopilot Feature

US senators have accused Tesla (TSLA) and its CEO Elon Musk of using “potentially deceptive and unfair practices” in the marketing of its electric vehicles.

In a communique sent to the Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey argued that the narrative put forward by Tesla and Musk is misleading and gives an overstatement of the ability of the car, resulting in so many crashes.

They wrote, “Tesla and Mr. Musk’s repeated overstatements of their vehicle’s capabilities – despite clear and frequent warnings – demonstrate a deeply concerning disregard for the safety of those on the road and require real accountability. Their claims put Tesla drivers – and all of the traveling public – at risk of serious injury or death.”

Tesla’s glitches in Autopilot have recently hogged the limelight after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a probe against the company after one of its agencies found that the Autopilot feature of the electric vehicle has been responsible in at least 11 crashes resulting in 17 injuries and one tragic death in California in 2019. A lawsuit was filed after a 15-year-old was flung away from his father’s truck after it got slammed by a Tesla in the Autopilot mode, eventually killing the teen.

Another website dedicated to tracking Tesla-related casualties reported that there have been at least nine deaths due to the Advanced Driving Assistance System’s malfunction.

Tesla recently launched a Full Self Driving feature which, evidence shows, is not even capable of maintaining lanes or identifying objects properly. The senators argued that these claims mislead the buyers. “Tesla drivers listen to these claims and believe their vehicles are equipped to drive themselves – with potentially deadly consequences,” read the letter.

Musk, in a rather apathetic manner, disregarded any chance of changing the names in an interview in 2020. The billionaire said to Automotive News, “The people who misuse Autopilot, it’s not because they’re new to it and don’t understand it. The people who first use Autopilot are extremely paranoid about it. It’s not like, ‘If you just introduced a different name, I would have really treated it differently.’ If something goes wrong with Autopilot, it’s because someone is misusing it and using it directly contrary to how we’ve said it should be used.”

Tuesday, a Tesla Model 3 crashed into a school in England injuring seven of which, an 8-year-old had to be airlifted to the hospital under serious circumstances.

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