California jury could decide whether Tesla’s ‘Autopilot’ claim is false advertising

A lawsuit accusing Tesla of “false advertising” in marketing its Autopilot is making its way through California’s Santa Barbara Superior Court, though the Elon Musk-led company disputes the claims.

Judge Thomas Anderle ruled this week that the case of Alexandro and Iaian Filippini, two brothers who run an asset management company in Santa Barbara, may proceed to the next stage.

The verdict is due to the fact that the Filippini brothers presented sufficient evidence to prove fraud and that the company violated the Consumer Legal Remedies Act – this means a jury could hear the matter soon.

The lawsuit, filed in 2020, alleges Tesla misrepresented the system in the $120,000 Model S the couple bought in 2016.

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The lawsuit, filed in 2020, alleges that Tesla misrepresented the system in their $120,000 Model S that the couple bought in 2016. Judge Thomas Anderle ruled this week that the case of Alexandro and Iaian Filippini, two brothers who run an asset management firm in Santa Barbara, versus Tesla may proceed to the next stage.

According to the lawsuit, the brothers told Tesla representatives they wanted to work during their commute, meaning they are not obliged to drive the vehicle or pay attention to the road, Independent reports.

‘Not only’ [the sales representatives] don’t discourage, [but] they confirmed and encouraged the plaintiffs’ expectations that the vehicle would be fit for purpose, and shared stories of driving 55 miles without touching the controls more than once or twice,” the lawsuit reads.

The brothers bought the Model S, for which they paid more for the vehicle to receive the Autopilot (the system now ships with every new Tesla), but upon delivery of the vehicle, they noticed the Autopilot was not “fully self-driving.”

The average cost of a Tesla in 2016 was $82,200.

The Filipinos were then told that Tesla would release software updates that would eventually improve the vehicle’s capabilities.

The ruling is due to the fact that the Filippini brothers have provided enough evidence to prove fraud and that the company has violated the Consumer Legal Remedies Act - meaning a juror could hear the case soon.  The brothers were told they could work while having intercourse meaning they didn't have to watch the road (stock photo)

The ruling is due to the fact that the Filippini brothers have provided enough evidence to prove fraud and that the company has violated the Consumer Legal Remedies Act – meaning a juror could hear the case soon. The brothers were told they could work while having intercourse meaning they didn’t have to watch the road (stock photo)

That was in 2016, and five years later, the sibling’s Model S has only evolved into Level 2 autonomous capabilities.

Level 2 means that the car can steer, accelerate and decelerate itself, but must have a driver in the driver’s seat, with hands on the wheel.

There are a total of six levels of autonomous driving, with Level 5 being true self-driving technology.

Drivers are warned by the car that they must remain in the driver’s seat with their hands on the wheel before they can engage the autopilot.

The lawsuit also notes that Tesla didn’t roll out its third-generation software until 2019, when it also announced that enhanced capabilities would only be added with the upgrade.

Tesla recently admitted to a California regulator that CEO Elon Musk has exaggerated plans to have fully autonomous self-driving cars on the road by 2022.

The recognition was revealed in a summary of responses to questions to the company by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. They were released by the legal transparency group PlainSite and first reported by: The edge.

During an earnings call in January, Musk told investors he was “confident that the car this year will be able to drive itself with reliability beyond human beings,” the transcript reads.

That call came five months after Musk told an AI conference in Shanghai that he was “confident” to produce a fully self-driving car by the end of 2020.

The Fillippini brothers are not alone in accusing Tesla of fraud, as a number of specialists also convicted Tesla in October of deceptive, irresponsible marketing that could turn roads into danger zones, as the company’s website states: “for the currently engaged functions require active driver supervision. and don’t make the vehicle autonomous.’

These allegations stem from Tesla’s ‘Autopilot’, released in 2015, which left many drivers thinking the driver assistance system could take over and check out — as a result, at least three people have been killed in the US.

Steven Shladover, a research engineer at the University of California, Berkeley, who has studied autonomous driving for 40 years, told the Chicago Tribune: “This is actively misleading people about the system’s capabilities, based on the information I’ve seen about it.”

WHAT ARE THE SIX LEVELS OF SELF-DRIVING AUTOMATION?

Level zero – The full-time performance by the human driver of all aspects of the dynamic driving task, even when enhanced by warning or intervention systems.

Level one – A small amount of control is achieved by the system, such as adaptive braking if a car gets too close.

Level two – The system can control the speed and direction of the car, allowing the driver to temporarily take his hands off, but he must at all times keep an eye on the road and be ready to take over.

Level three – The driver does not always have to monitor the system in some specific cases, such as on highways, but should be ready to resume control if the system asks for it.

Level Four – The system can handle all situations automatically within the defined usage, but it may not be able to handle all weather or road conditions. The system relies on high definition mapping.

Level five – Full automation. The system can withstand all weather, traffic and light conditions. It can be done anywhere, at any time and under all circumstances.

Tesla's Model 3 Sedan - one of the world's most advanced road-legal cars with autonomous elements - is currently operating at level two autonomy.  It is equipped for level three autonomy, which may be introduced in a future software update

Tesla’s Model 3 Sedan – one of the world’s most advanced road-legal cars with autonomous elements – is currently operating at level two autonomy. It is equipped for level three autonomy, which may be introduced in a future software update

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