Tesla has come under fire again for its controversial “Full Self-Driving” driver assistance feature.
Despite what the name alludes to, FSD does not enable a car to drive itself. The feature can handle certain situations, but requires a driver to monitor things at all times and always be ready to correct mistakes.
Although Tesla has made strides with the feature over the years, including in November, it eventually offered it to all Tesla owners in North America who purchased the feature in unfinished “beta” mode (previously, only select owners received the beta ), enough disgruntled owners have joined forces to file a class-action lawsuit accusing Tesla of misleading the public by falsely advertising its self-driving technology.
The class action lawsuit was filed in September, and CNN reported this week that Tesla’s attorneys have since argued that failure to meet FSD’s lofty goals did not constitute fraud and that the lawsuit should be dismissed.
“The mere failure to meet a long-term, ambitious goal is not fraud,” Tesla’s attorneys wrote in a Nov. 28 court filing, according to CNN.
Tesla also cited that the plaintiffs agreed to an arbitration clause when ordering their cars, that such claims should not be tried in public courts or in class actions, and that the plaintiffs were not actually harmed by the fact that a real self-driving car was not delivered when other reasons the lawsuit should be dismissed, according to CNN.
FSD is an extension of Autopilot, which is Tesla’s standard driver assistance feature and is essentially adaptive cruise control that can also steer itself in a single lane. FSD adds additional features including the ability to automatically overtake slower vehicles, automatically react to traffic lights and stop signs, and handle some parking situations. It also has a summoning feature that allows you to take your car into parking lots, although you have to keep the vehicle in sight.
Tesla first began offering FSD in 2016, initially as a hardware bundle that the company said over time would receive the necessary software updates to deliver on the promise of true self-driving capability. CEO Elon Musk said at the time he expected a Tesla to be able to drive from Los Angeles to New York “without the need for a single touch” on the steering wheel as early as 2017. That would become one of many broken promises made by Musk.
FSD cost $5,000 when it launched in 2016, but Tesla raised the price to $10,000 in 2020, and again to $12,000 earlier this year, and finally to $15,000 in September. The company also made FSD available as a subscription last year.