Tesla CEO Elon Musk has come under fire from regulators and shareholders for his claims about Tesla vehicles’ self-driving technology, and now he’s being criticised by a high-profile figure.
Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple alongside Steve Jobs, jabbed Musk and his company in an interview on CNN’s This Morning.
“Boy, if you want a study of AI gone wrong and taking a lot of claims and trying to kill you every chance it can – get a Tesla,” Mr Wozniak said on the program.
“I believed the things he said, that a car would drive itself across the country by the end of 2016.
“Oh, I had to upgrade to that model! And then, it wouldn’t do anything, I could tell it would never make it across the country.
“And he said: here, we have a new one with eight cameras and it will make it across the country by the end of 2017.
“I actually believed those things but they’re not even close to reality.”
Mr Wozniak said he admires Mr Musk for some of the things he’s done for the world, including helping the transition to electric vehicles. However, he said the good is overshadowed by the Tesla CEO’s overstating of his vehicles’ capabilities.
Shareholders recently filed a proposed class action suit against Tesla in federal court in San Francisco, arguing they had been defrauded by the company with false and misleading statements on technology that “created a serious risk of accident and injury”.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a US regulator, has two active investigations underway into the system, one of which is in the engineering analysis stage and is looking at crashes with stationary emergency vehicles, while the other is looking at phantom braking reports.
The agency confirmed it’s investigating the 17th fatal crash involving Autopilot, after a Model S collided with a parked fire truck in Contra Costa County, California in February.
Tesla is also reportedly the subject of a US Department of Justice probe, reportedly examining whether Tesla misled consumers, investors, and regulators by making unsupported claims about the capability of its driver assist technology.
In one reprieve for Tesla, a California jury found in favour of Tesla last month in a case involving its Autopilot system.
The jury rejected claims from the plaintiff, Justine Hsu, that her Tesla Model S’s Autopilot system didn’t perform safely and awarded her zero damages.
This was believed to be the first trial relating to a crash where Autopilot was active, and legal experts say that while the verdict isn’t binding in other cases, it could help shape the strategies of other plaintiffs’ legal teams.
Jurors said they believed driver distraction was to blame, and that Tesla had clearly warned its Level 2 system was not driverless technology.
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