Tesla is now a global icon in the world today. Their technology and futuristic approach are unmatched in the auto industry. Tesla first announced its plan for a Full Self-Driving car in October of 2016, and it quickly became a mind-blowing proposition. Now, just under five years later, Full Self-Driving “Betas” are out there on the roads.
This exciting and unbelievable technology is fun to see in action today. However, Full Self-Driving cars are also a potentially dangerous premise. Tesla is now under some heat for their new Betas on the road.
The California DMV is Now Probing Tesla
According to the L.A. Times article “DMV probing whether Tesla violates state regulations with self-driving claims,” the California DMV is now reviewing the global automaker.
“Tesla is “under review” by the California Department of Motor Vehicles to determine whether the electric car maker misleads customers by advertising its “full self-driving capability” option, the agency told The L.A. Times.
A Tesla equipped with the $10,000 full self-driving package can change lanes, take highway exit ramps, and stop at traffic lights and stop signs on its own, the company says. However, it is not capable of fully driving itself, according to widely accepted engineering standards.”Russ Mitchell, L.A. Times
The piece continues to say that Tesla’s advertising for this Full Self-Driving beat is slightly misleading, as the cars are not fully autonomous. The fine print on Tesla’s website states that the Beta cars do not make the car fully autonomous. However, there still has been a fury of viral videos of reckless drivers misusing the self-driving package features.
Along with recent arrests of reckless driving in California, Tesla faces hundreds of lawsuits around several fatal accidents related to their “auto-pilot” features being misused.
“If the DMV finds Tesla is misleading customers, potential penalties include suspension or revocation of DMV autonomous vehicle deployment permits and manufacture and dealer licenses, the DMV spokesperson said. She added that “a vehicle operating on public roads using autonomous technology without first obtaining a permit can be removed from the public roadway by a police officer.”Russ Mitchell, L.A. Times
Unlike the National High Traffic Safety Administration, the DMV has rules to penalize car manufacturers who promote their vehicles as autonomous, even when they are not. Tesla is no stranger to having these types of rulings against their self-driving car technology. Back in July of 2020, a Munich court ruled Tesla was falsly advertising about its auto-pilot capabilities. The court had Tesla stop using such terms as “full potential for autonomous driving” in advertising and online in Germany altogether.
The Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE) put out their very detailed J3016 in April of 2021. It’s a comprehensive guide of definitions for terms related to driving automation systems for on-road motor vehicles. The SAE listed “self-driving” as a term that “can lead to confusion, misunderstanding, and diminished credibility.”
“Tesla seems to be asking for legal trouble on many fronts,” law professor Smith said. “From the FTC and its state counterparts for deceptive marketing. From the California DMV for, potentially, crossing into the realm of autonomous vehicle testing without state approval, from competitors with driver assistance systems, competitors with actual automated driving systems, ordinary consumers, and future crash victims who could sue under state or federal law.”Russ Mitchell, L.A. Times
A Look at Tesla’s Website
According to Tesla’s website, features are abundant with their Autopilot technology. Advanced Sensor Coverage, cameras surround the vehicle and provide sensors on objects from a variety of distances. Other features include increased power processing and Tesla Vision.
The most prominent feature for Autopilot is, of course, the Full Self-Driving Capability. Tesla’s website description of these features does take into account some of these tricky questions.
“Autopilot advanced safety and convenience features are designed to assist you with the most burdensome parts of driving. Autopilot introduces new features and improves existing functionality to make your Tesla safer and more capable over time.
Autopilot enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane.
Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous.
All new Tesla cars have the hardware needed in the future for full self-driving in almost all circumstances. The system is designed to be able to conduct short and long distance trips with no action required by the person in the driver’s seat.
The future use of these features without supervision is dependent on achieving reliability far in excess of human drivers as demonstrated by billions of miles of experience, as well as regulatory approval, which may take longer in some jurisdictions. As these self-driving capabilities are introduced, your car will be continuously upgraded through over-the-air software updates.”Russ Mitchell, L.A. Times
What is next for the California DMV and Tesla?
It remains to be seen how much the DMV will pursue this probing on Tesla’s Full Self-Driving capabilities. On one hand, they seem to be misleading by using the term “Full Self-Driving” on its features, even though the car cannot drive itself. But Tesla still puts in their above website descriptions that this does not make the vehicles fully autonomous and requires an active driver in the driver’s seat.
Tesla is a massive juggernaut in the automotive industry, so it will take a few more hazardous stunts from people abusing the “Full Self-Driving” technology to have significant consequences. But, this DMV probe is definitely a start in something potentially happening down the road.
Stay tuned as the probing from the DMV has just begun back in May. It may take some more time for the Betas to be on the road for more actions to come.
Tesla’s are a unique and genuinely groundbreaking auto feat. Their technology is next level and they are an awesome car to own. Founder Elon Musk actually came out recently acknowledging the imperfections of the fully autonomous driving system. If you own a Tesla there is no need to worry, you have an incredible driving machine. But there seem to be some kinks that need to be worked out with their Full Self-Driving technology.
For the full article, visit https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-05-17/dmv-tesla-california-fsd-autopilot-safety
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