Tesla’s Autopilot was never really the super feature that users were promised, and full self-driving mode (FSD) was controversial long before it was introduced. To make matters worse for the leading electric vehicle maker, a Tesla engineer has testified that a 2016 video demo of the car’s self-driving and self-parking features was a fiction.
Per Reuters, Ashok Elluswamy – software director for Tesla’s Autopilot – admitted in a statement that the video was fake. The admission seemed to confirm a New York Times report from 2021, in which anonymous Tesla employees admit that the car’s route was pre-programmed in the video and the vehicle even had an accident during filming.
As reported by Reuters, Elluswamy’s statement is the first time a Tesla executive has confirmed or even explained in detail how this happened Video was invented.
said Elluswamy the demo was created after the CEO of Tesla Elon Musk asked the Autopilot team to design a “demonstration of the system’s capabilities.” However, he claimed that the video did not accurately reflect Tesla’s alleged self-driving capabilities at the time. Elluswamy’s testimony was part of a lawsuit filed by the family of Walter Huang, a software developer who died in a Tesla accident in 2018.
Huang family attorney Andrew McDevitt told Reuters that Tesla was “manifestly misleading” in presenting “this video without a disclaimer or asterisk.”
Driver-assistance software is fairly standard, but in recent years Tesla has been cited in several notable names accidents with the function. Now, Reuters is reporting that the company is on the wrong end of several Autopilot-related lawsuits.
The feature is so controversial that California lawmakers have passed legislation preventing Tesla from advertising its cars as fully self-driving until the vehicles can truly drive autonomously.