A Tesla engineer testified in court that 2016 promotional videos exaggerated Tesla Autopilot's capabilities.
Despite claims, the Model X wasn't truly autonomous during the video, as confirmed by Tesla's director of Autopilot software, Ashok Elluswamy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has investigated over 35 Tesla Autopilot-involved crashes since 2016, with only three absolving the system.
The NHTSA is assessing Autopilot's role in 14 fatal accidents and potential driver over-reliance due to misleading promotions.
In regards to Tesla Autopilot crashes a Tesla engineer has testified in a U.S. court on how the company faked the true abilities of its autonomous driving technology during promotional videos in October of 2016. The video makes it seem that the vehicle is able to drive itself, in a completely autonomous way and comes with the caption: “The person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons. He is not doing anything. The car is driving itself.”
Performing functions such as steering, accelerating, and automatic braking, Tesla incorporates an advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS).
Since 2016 the NHTSA has launched over 35 special crash investigations into Tesla crashes involving the ADAS system, so far only in 3 of the 35 have ruled out Autopilot as the cause of the crash.
Tesla co-founder and CEO, Elon Musk, promoted the video himself pm Twitter in 2016, citing it as evidence that “Tesla drives itself”
However, U.S. court documents say, courtesy of Reuters media that “drivers intervened to take control in test runs” and “when trying to show the Model X could park itself with no driver, a test car crashed into a fence in Tesla’s parking lot”.
Previously unreported testimony during a transcript of a July deposition in a fatal crash lawsuit against Tesla in 2018 from the director of Autopilot software at Tesla, Ashok Elluswamy, said that:
The Model X was not actually driving itself during the video
Road safety regulators in the US, in particular, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are currently investigating the role of Tesla Autopilot in a number of fatal crashes which have a combined death toll of 14 lives. One of the crashes which occurred in 2022 involved a Tesla Model S that was operating in Autopilot during a crash that killed three people. The NHTSA is also investigating whether misleading adverts such as Tesla’s may make those behind the wheel complacent and/or too dependent on a technology that is meant to be a driver’s aid.