Ashok Elluswamy, Tesla director of Autopilot software, has confessed that the 2016 video showcasing Full Self-Driving (FSD) autopilot system was staged.
The revelation came from a disposition where Elluswamy clarified that the video was not showing what customers are to expect from the feature. Instead, it showed the possibilities of the system.
The video has been very popular among Tesla fans as it appeared to be showing what the car can do. According to a report by The Verge, video started with a title card that said that the person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons and he is not doing anything as the he car is driving by itself.
Then, the video goes on to show the car driving, parking, avoiding obstacles, and obeying red and green lights.
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The problem is that the video didn’t tell viewers that the route had already been programmed and mapped into the cars. Thus, it was easy for them to mistake the ad video for a car taking all those actions by relying on input from cameras and sensors.
To make matters worst, the particular Tesla car used in the video to show FSD did not even have functionalities to recognise traffic lights.
The deposition is part of a lawsuit by Wei “Walter” Huang’s family, who is suing the car company over the death of their son after his Model X crashed into a highway barrier in 2018.
While the case is not specifically about false advertising, the topic has become increasingly frequent in news these days about EVs and automation. You’ll recall that Tesla is facing another case in South Korea for not disclosing the poor performance of its vehicles in cold temperatures.
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