Tesla has once again been criticized for its controversial Full Self-Driving feature.
Regardless of what the name implies, the FSD does not allow self-driving cars. This feature can handle certain situations but requires the driver to keep an eye on everything and be ready to correct mistakes at all times.
Tesla has made progress with this feature over the years, including last November offer it in unfinished “Beta” mode to all Tesla owners in North America who purchased the feature (previously only select owners received the Beta). However, enough disgruntled owners have rallied to file a class-action lawsuit alleging Tesla misled the public by falsely promoting its self-driving technology. They argue that the FSD does not offer full self-driving capabilities and that some cars equipped with it have experienced problems. They have also repeatedly cited when Tesla or Musk claimed that full self-driving capabilities would be available within a year or two through over-the-air updates, but that would never materialize.
The class action lawsuit was filed in September, and CNN reported this week that lawyers for Tesla have since argued that failure to fulfill the lofty goals of the FSD does not constitute fraud and that the lawsuit should be dismissed.
“Failure to meet ambitious, long-term goals is not fraud,” Tesla’s attorneys wrote in a November 28 court filing.
Tesla also cites that the plaintiffs agreed to an arbitration clause when ordering their cars that such claims should not be heard in public courts or in class action lawsuits and that the plaintiffs not really hurt by the fact that self-driving cars really do. According to CNN, the car was not delivered, for additional reasons, dismissing the lawsuit.
However, the plaintiffs spent money on Tesla’s name for its system and its promise that it would indeed offer full self-driving capabilities. The FSD cost $5,000 at launch in 2016, but Tesla raised the price to $10,000 in 2020, and again to $12,000 earlier this year and finally $15,000 in September. company has also implemented FSD available as a subscription last year.
FSD is an extension of Autopilot, which is Tesla’s standard driver assistance feature, and is essentially an adaptive cruise control system that can also drive itself in a single lane. FSD adds additional functionality, including the ability to automatically overtake slower vehicles, automatically respond to traffic lights and stop signs, and handle certain parking situations. It also has a Summon feature that brings the car to the driver in the parking lot, even though the driver need to be in sight of the vehicle.
Tesla first started offering FSD in 2016, originally a hardware package which the company says will receive the necessary software updates over time to deliver on the promise of true self-driving capabilities. At the time, CEO Elon Musk said he expected a Tesla to be able to get from Los Angeles to New York “without a single touch” of the steering wheel as soon as 2017.