Tesla Inc disclosed on Tuesday it had received requests from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for documents related to its Full Self-Driving and Autopilot driver-assistance systems as regulatory scrutiny intensifies.
Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has championed the systems as innovations that will both improve road safety and position the company as a technology leader.
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But regulators are examining if Autopilot’s design and claims about its capabilities provide users a false sense of security, leading to complacency behind the wheel with possibly fatal results.
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Reuters had reported in October the DOJ had launched a probe in 2021 following more than a dozen crashes involving Autopilot, which was engaged during the accidents.
The feature is designed to assist with steering, braking, speed and lane changes. Tesla also sells the $15,000 the full self-driving (FSD) software as an add-on that enables its vehicles to change lanes and park autonomously.
Both the FSD and Autopilot systems use the steering wheel monitoring function – an alert that instructs drivers to hold the wheel to confirm they are paying attention.
The company’s shares were down 1% in premarket trading.
Meanwhile, in its filing on Tuesday, Tesla also forecast capital expenditure between $7 billion and $9 billion in 2024 and 2025. The midpoint of that expectation is $1 billion higher than the $6.00 billion to $8.00 billion range provided for this year.
Some of the spending will go toward a $3.6 billion expansion of its Nevada Gigafactory complex, where Tesla is building a factory to mass produce its long-delayed Semi truck and a plant for the 4680 cell that would be able to make enough batteries for 2 million light-duty vehicles annually.
Tesla also said on Tuesday it recorded an impairment loss of $204 million on the bitcoin it holds, while booking a gain of $64 million from converting the token into fiat currency.
Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin were hammered last year as rising interest rates and the collapse of major industry players such as crypto exchange FTX shook investor confidence.
(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)