U.S. securities regulators are investigating Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk's role in shaping Tesla's self-driving claims.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the review is part of an ongoing Securities and Exchange Commission probe of Tesla's statements about its Autopilot driver-assistance system.
SEC officials are investigating whether Musk may have inappropriately made forward-looking statements about the autopilot system.
An investigation by the agency's enforcement unit sometimes leads to consequences, and can result in lawsuits, fines, or other civil penalties for companies and executives, reports Bloomberg.
In October 2016, Musk wrote to Tesla's Autopilot team to underscore the importance of the demonstration, about which he made an announcement a week later.
Bloomberg reported that Musk dictated the opening text for the 2016 video, touting that one of its cars drove itself.
Musk oversaw the creation of the video and made a push on efforts to create it. In internal emails, he told Tesla staff, "I will be telling the world that this is what the car *will* be able to do." But, musk continued, "not that it can do this upon receipt," Bloomberg reported.
Meanwhile, according to a CNN report citing testimony from a senior Tesla engineer, the video Tesla used to promote its self-driving technology was staged.
The testimony from Tesla's director of autopilot software Ashok Elluswamy indicated that in 2016 the vehicle was not capable of stopping at red lights and accelerating off the line on its own.
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"The video's intent was not to portray what was available for customers in 2016 accurately. It was to portray what was possible to build into the system," Elluswamy said
Musk has frequently stated that Tesla's automated driving software is safe, but also safer than a human driver.
Last year, the Justice Department scrutinized Tesla's statements about the safety and functionality of the Autopilot system.
Additionally, the U.S. auto-safety regulator and the California Department of Motor Vehicles scrutinized Autopilot.
In 2021, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation of Autopilot after a series of crashes involving Teslas and first-responder vehicles stopped at emergency scenes.
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