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Tesla will face DOJ, SEC scrutiny over self-driving claims

Multiple arms of the federal government are said to be preparing to scrutinize Tesla – and perhaps its CEO, Elon Musk – over various claims about its driver-assistance system, built from the Autopilot system and involves the costly Full Self-Driving function.

On Wednesday Reuters reported that Tesla faces a criminal investigation over self-driving claims. Then on Thursday afternoon, The Wall Street Journal added another layer of potential complexity: Tesla is also the subject of a civil investigation from the Securities and Exchange Commission, citing people familiar with the matter.

As the WSJ has pointed out, the SEC has the authority to enforce investor protection laws on a civil basis. As for the DOJ’s alleged investigation, it is believed to involve prosecutors in Washington and San Francisco.

Meanwhile, a federal investigation into Tesla’s driver assistance system continues through official vehicle safety channels. In June, the federal government announced it would upgrade the safety probes of 830,000 Tesla vehicles (a number that has increased since) to Technical Analysis — a step closer to a recall — after a growing list of incidents in which Teslas have attacked emergency response vehicles while their driver assistance mode was engaged.

2021 Tesla Model 3

2021 Tesla Model 3

That Tesla Autopilot investigation by NHTSA lasting 2014-2022 Tesla Model Y, Model 3, Model S, and Model X vehicles, all equipped with Autopilot systems — including Navigation on Autopilot — for which the driver is legally responsible when driving a vehicle and need to provide supervision.

Tesla continues to maintain that it is safer to drive with its systems engaged, and in the Q4 2021 safety update Autonomous driving – still the most recent update – the company announced reported a crash over 4.31 million miles of Autopilot compared to one over 1.59 million miles for people who didn’t use the system.

Neither the Justice Department nor the SEC responded to these reports. Since such allegations have not yet been written down in publicly accessible records, it is unclear whether they may overlap with substance beyond a recent California Department of Motor Vehicles complaint against Tesla. .

Tesla went hiking Fully self-driving car price to $15,000 in September and expanding beta testing greatly expands the conditions under which the system can be used. In the past, Musk has repeatedly suggested that the system is a direct vehicle to turns its cars into robots.

Tesla Model 3 dashboard in Autopilot test with IIHS [CREDIT: IIHS]

Tesla Model 3 dashboard in Autopilot test with IIHS [CREDIT: IIHS]

This is not the first time Musk has been investigated by the SEC. In 2018, they opened an investigation into statements made — via Twitter — in which Musk appeared to suggest that the company was considering a large-scale share buyback, take Tesla private at $420 a share. That leads to a Settle 40 million dollars—Strong between company and CEO — with Musk losing his position as chairman of the board for three years.

Later that year, spurred on by investors who said they had been duped, The SEC checked the production claims in connection with the Model 3 upgrade. In April 2019, as part of agreement with SECMusk is no longer allowed to tweet about Tesla’s finances or sales without the prior approval of the company’s securities attorney.

Musk completed the Twitter purchase on Thursday, and so the timing of these two reports – both unverified – is a remarkable coincidence.



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