DOJ Requests Documents Relating to Tesla’s Autopilot and ‘Full Self Driving’ Features

Credit: shutterstock

On Tuesday, Tesla disclosed that the United States Justice Department has requested documents pertaining to its Autopilot and “Full Self-Driving” features, according to AP News. After numerous Tesla crashes, with some being fatal, the Justice Department is investigating the claim that the cars can drive themselves leading to a false sense of security for drivers, and they may also be looking into the safety features of the cars. 

“Despite their names, Tesla still says on its website that the cars can’t drive themselves. Teslas using “Full Self-Driving” can navigate roads in many cases, but experts say the system can make mistakes, which even CEO Elon Musk acknowledges. ‘We’re not saying it’s quite ready to have no one behind the wheel,’ CEO Musk said in October,” according to AP News. 


According to the New York Post, Reuters reported in October that Tesla was under criminal investigation for their self-driving claims, noting that the Justice Department launched an investigation in 2021 after crashes were reported involving the Autopilot feature. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is conducting an engineering analysis into 830,000 Tesla vehicles with Autopilot, which is a step necessary before a recall can be issued. 

“Autopilot is designed to assist with steering, braking, speed and lane changes. The function currently requires active driver supervision and does not make the vehicle autonomous. Tesla separately sells the $15,000 full self-driving (FSD) software as an add-on that enables its vehicles to change lanes and park autonomously.” 


There is also a civil investigation being conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, looking into Tesla’s statements on Autopilot. 

The executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, Michael Brooks, said of the case, “When you get the car, it really can’t do everything that’s been promised […] Tesla is putting a vehicle out on the road that is unable to perform to the capabilities claimed. Yet we have drivers relying on those promises and esentially [sic] not paying attention to the drive because they think it is more capable than it is.”

Tesla said on Tuesday “to our knowledge no government agency in any ongoing investigation has concluded that any wrongdoing occurred.”

Recommended For You