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Tesla Faces Justice Department Probe Over Self-Driving Tech

The DOJ has requested documents related to the automaker's Autopilot and Full Self-Driving software.

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A view of a Tesla's navigation screen while using the company's FSD driver assistance software

Tesla in September expanded beta testing of FSD, its software designed to eventually lead to self-driving cars. 

Stephen Shankland/CNET

The US Department of Justice is seeking information about Tesla's Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, or FSD, technologies, the automaker confirmed Tuesday. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tesla said it's "received requests from the DOJ for documents related to Tesla's Autopilot and FSD" vehicle systems. 

"To our knowledge no government agency in any ongoing investigation has concluded that any wrongdoing occurred," Tesla said in the filing, which was earlier reported by Axios. 

In October, Reuters reported that the DOJ had launched a criminal probe into Tesla in 2021, saying the inquiry is focused on the electric-car maker's Autopilot driver-assistance software, after more than a dozen Tesla crashes, some fatal, occurred. 

Despite its name, Tesla's Full Self-Driving software isn't a fully autonomous driving system. It's an array of advanced driver aids such as hands-free operation, which still requires that a driver remain attentive and prepared to take over the vehicle if needed. As of September 2022, FSD is a $15,000 add-on on top of the cost of the vehicle. 

The Justice Department declined to comment. Tesla didn't responded to a request for comment, but the automaker no longer operates a public relations department, which would typically field such requests.