Tesla CEO Elon Musk is under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission for his specific comments and efforts to promote the automaker’s claims of its “self-driving” capabilities, Bloomberg reports. Musk’s SEC investigation is part of their overall effort to determine whether Tesla broke its rules in promoting its FSD and Autopilot offering.
The SEC typically does not comment on ongoing investigations before formally filing a lawsuit, and has not commented on this case in particular. But the latest revelations may explain why Musk is in the crosshairs when it comes to Tesla’s “self-driving” technology: Last week, testimony from a senior engineer on the Tesla team working on its Autopilot software revealed that a video of the company’s im Released in 2016, the alleged depiction of a self-driving Tesla vehicle was actually staged. Bloomberg’s reporting later revealed that the video was supervised and directed by Musk himself.
Of course, security claims are not the SEC’s domain, but there are problems with public companies or company officers making forward-looking statements that are false or misleading. That’s apparently what they’re worried about here — Musk has often suggested that FSD would achieve essentially driverless navigation capabilities on schedules that have ended up not being accurate.
Based on what the SEC finds after its investigation, we could see lawsuits or other consequences for Musk, including restrictions on his future tenure as a public company officer, if they choose to continue enforcing identified violations.