The U.S. Department of Justice is looking for Tesla driver assistance documents

By Akash Sriram and David Shepardson

WASHINGTON – Tesla Inc announced on Tuesday that the US Department of Justice has requested documents related to its fully self-driving vehicle (FSD) and autopilot driver assistance systems as regulatory scrutiny intensifies.

The automaker said in a filing that it had “received inquiries from the DOJ for documents related to Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD Features.”

Reuters reported in October that Tesla is under criminal investigation over claims that the company’s electric vehicles can drive themselves. Reuters said the US Department of Justice launched the investigation in 2021 after more than a dozen autopilot accidents, some of which were fatal.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

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.

Musk said on a recent Tesla conference call that “complete self-driving is obviously getting better very quickly.”

A 2016 video Musk promoted on Twitter as proof that “Tesla drives itself” was staged to show abilities like stopping at a red light that the system didn’t have, according to one senior engineer first reported by Reuters earlier this month.

Regulators are investigating whether Autopilot’s design and claims of its capabilities give users a false sense of security, leading to complacency behind the wheel with potentially fatal consequences.

Acting National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) chief Ann Carlson said this month the agency is “working very quickly” on the Tesla Autopilot investigation it opened in August 2021, which it described as “very extensive.” In June, NHTSA upgraded to a technical analysis of its faulty probe in 830,000 Tesla vehicles with Autopilot, a step necessary before the agency could request a recall.

Autopilot is designed to help with steering, braking, speed and lane changes. The feature currently requires active driver monitoring and does not make the vehicle autonomous. Tesla is separately selling the $15,000 fully autonomous driving (FSD) software as an add-on that enables its vehicles to change lanes and park autonomously.

Shares of the automaker are up 2% in early trade.

The Wall Street Journal reported in October that the Securities and Exchange Commission is conducting a civil investigation into Tesla’s autopilot statements, citing sources.

Tesla also forecasts capital expenditures of between $7 billion and $9 billion in 2024 and 2025. The midpoint of this expectation is $1 billion above this year’s range of $6.00 billion to $8.00 billion.

GRAPHIC: Tesla increases capital spending as it ramps up production (

A portion of the spending will go toward a $3.6 billion expansion of its Gigafactory complex in Nevada, where Tesla will mass-produce its long-delayed semi-truck and build a plant for the 4680 cell, which will be located in the Would be able to produce enough batteries for 2 million light vehicles annually.

Tesla said it recorded a $204 million depreciation loss on the bitcoin it holds, while posting a $64 million gain from converting the token into fiat currency.

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have been plagued by rising interest rates and the collapse of major industry players like crypto exchanges over the past year FTX shook investor confidence.