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EV/AV Report: Tesla under criminal investigation, Ford closes AI development firm

Toronto, Ontario — In this week’s report, the U.S. Department of Justice unveils an ongoing criminal investigation against Tesla, Ford abandons its self-driving program after US$4 billion of investment and the European Union (EU) approves a ban on internal combustion vehicles by 2035. This is the latest in electric and autonomous vehicles.

Blown Cover
Three inside sources have disclosed to Reuters that the U.S. Department of Justice has been conducting an criminal investigation against Tesla, following multiple crashes and fatalities involving the OEM’s controversially named Autopilot software.

Specifically, prosecutors in Washington and San Francisco are examining whether Tesla misled consumers by making unsupported claims about its driver assistance technology’s capabilities.

This investigation becomes especially complicated, given that the electric vehicle manufacturer lists warnings that autopilot requires drivers to maintain control over the vehicle, along with advertising suggesting that the vehicle can pilot itself.

A final decision has yet to be made, due to multiple ongoing investigations and the legal difficulty of proving statements made by Tesla executives were deliberately misinformative.

Bye Bye, AI
Ford is shutting the doors of Argo AI, the firm responsible for developing Ford and Volkswagen’s self-driving AI.

This decision has resulted in over 2,000 layoffs, with the two companies offering automated technology development jobs to 1,800 Argo AI employers.

According to Wired, Volkswagen and Ford invested approximately US$3.6 billion into Argo, prior to its closure. This decision comes from the inability to immediately sell developments from AV technology, which they believe may take five or more years to become a profitable from a business perspective.

Shifting Goalposts
EU lawmakers and member countries have approved a ban on the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars and vans by 2035, aimed to ensure that global temperatures increase by less than 2 C by the end of the century, rather than the original target of 1.5 C.

While EU data indicates that passenger cars represent 61 percent of all CO2 emissions from road transport, auditors highlight that the continent does not have enough charging stations for the desired number of electric vehicles.

In an interview with the CBC, Greenpeace EU campaigner, Lorelei Limousin described this development as too little too late, saying that global warming would increase more than 1.5 C with the 2035 deadline.

Limousin described this legislation as “a perfect example of where politicians can bask in a feel-good headline that masks the reality of their repeated failures to act on climate.”

“New cars with internal combustion engines should be banned by 2028 at the latest.”

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