The Department of Justice recently launched an undisclosed probe into Elon Musk’s Tesla car company after the vehicle’s self-driving autopilot program led to a series of crashes, RadarOnline.com has learned.
The DOJ’s investigation into Tesla, which was announced on Wednesday, includes more than 830,000 of the company’s vehicles.
Federal investigators are reportedly looking into whether Tesla misled investors, regulators and consumers with “unsupported claims” regarding the self-driving feature.
Previously, Musk claimed that Tesla’s autopilot and self-driving feature was “probably better” than a human driver. He has also recently announced an upcoming upgraded Tesla model that would drive a person “to your work, your friend's house, to the grocery store without you touching the wheel.”
“The person in the driver's seat is only there for legal reasons,” one video advertising the new model claims. “He is not doing anything. The car is driving itself.”
But despite Tesla’s touted self-driving feature, more than one dozen accidents involving the vehicles have taken place in recent years – including one incident in 2021 when a Tesla Model S drove into a parked car and killed a 22-year-old college student.
If the DOJ finds that Musk, Tesla and other company executives knowingly misled consumers, investors and regulators, criminal charges could be filed.
Also, despite celebrating the vehicle’s self-driving feature, Musk has acknowledged the program does “not make the vehicle autonomous” and it only “assists” with steering, braking, speed and lane changes.
An individual also must still be in the driver’s seat with their hands on the steering wheel at all times.
“We're not saying that that's quite ready to have no one behind the wheel,” Musk allegedly told investors, according to Daily Mail.
The DOJ’s newly launched probe into more than 830,000 Tesla vehicles comes after Musk was ordered to close his $44 billion takeover deal of Twitter by 5 PM on Friday, October 28.
Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen McCormick, who ordered Musk to close the deal by Friday, also revealed a trial date would be set should for Twitter’s lawsuit against Musk should he not close the deal by 5 PM on October 28.