could face further federal scrutiny over its feature. Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal have called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the company over "misleading advertising and marketing" of the Autopilot and (FSD) systems.
"Tesla and [CEO Elon] Musk’s repeated overstatements of their vehicle’s capabilities — despite clear and frequent warnings — demonstrate a deeply concerning disregard for the safety of those on the road and require real accountability," the senators wrote in to FTC chair Lina Khan. "Their claims put Tesla drivers — and all of the travelling public — at risk of serious injury or death." It's not yet clear whether the FTC will heed the senators' call and investigate the company.
Today @SenMarkey & I wrote to FTC Chair Lina Khan to express our serious concerns about Tesla’s marketing tactics. Their overstated claims give drivers a false sense of security & overblown confidence in their car’s capabilities—putting motorists & others on the road at risk. pic.twitter.com/6Mv1fKREq3
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) August 18, 2021
Along with several examples of Tesla and Musk seemingly overselling Autopilot and FSD functions, Markey and Blumenthal cited an investigation that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration . The agency is looking into a string of collisions between Tesla vehicles and parked emergency vehicles, one of which resulted in someone's death. The NHTSA said the Tesla vehicles in question all had Autopilot or Traffic Aware Cruise Control switched on when the crashes occurred.
Despite the name, FSD (for which when a car is purchased) doesn't yet make vehicles fully autonomous. FSD, which is , is currently an advanced driver assistance feature that handles maneuvers such as automatic parking, lane changing and to a nearby location. It's a Level 2 autonomous driving system, whereas full self-driving capability with no human supervision required is Level 5. Tesla on its website that "Autopilot does not turn a Tesla into a self-driving car nor does it make a car autonomous."
Musk has made many claims over the years about Tesla being close to offering fully autonomous capabilities. In a January earnings call, Musk said he was "highly confident the car will be able to drive itself with reliability in excess of human this year." However, a Tesla engineer later suggested the company was a long way off from rolling out Level 5 functionality.
The National Transportation Safety Board previously accused Tesla of . In May, the California Department of Motor Vehicles was looking into Musk's FSD claims. The names of the Autopilot and FSD features have been for potentially leading drivers to their capabilities. Markey is among those who called on Tesla to .