Tesla can continue referring to the capabilities of its driver assistance system and to autonomous driving in its advertising in Germany after a court threw out a complaint against the practice. Germany’s Wettbewerbszentrale, an industry-sponsored body tasked with policing anti-competitive practices, had filed the so-called non-admissibility complaint with Germany’s Federal Court of Justice.

A spokesperson for the court said the complaint had been rejected on July 28, effectively allowing Tesla to keep using the phrases “full potential for autonomous driving” and “Autopilot inclusive” in its German advertising materials.

Industry publication Teslamag first reported the rejection earlier this week.

The complaint by Wettbewerbszentrale came in response to a ruling by the higher regional court Munich in October 2021 that confirmed an appeal by Tesla against a previous verdict by a lower district court that prohibited the use of the phrases.

Tesla earlier this month was also accused by a California state transportation regulator of falsely advertising its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features as providing autonomous vehicle control.

Last week, two US lawmakers who chair subcommittees overseeing auto safety asked the federal auto safety regulator for a briefing on its probes into crashes involving Tesla electric vehicles using Autopilot and advanced driver assistance systems, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

US Senator Gary Peters and Representative Jan Schakowsky, both Democrats, said in the letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that they were concerned that “federal investigations and recent reporting have uncovered troubling safety issues” at Tesla.

The lawmakers asked, “given the mounting number of fatalities involving Tesla vehicles crashing into tractor trailers…has NHTSA considered opening a defect investigation into this issue?”

The letter added “does NHTSA strike a balance between investigative thoroughness and addressing urgent, emerging risks to motor vehicle safety?” and if the agency has enough resources and legal authority to properly investigate advanced driver assistance systems.

NHTSA did not immediately comment. In July, NHTSA Administrator Steve Cliff told Reuters he wanted to complete the investigation into Tesla’s advanced driver assistance system Autopilot “as quickly as we possibly can but I also want to get it right. There’s a lot of information that we need to comb through.”

© Thomson Reuters 2022




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