As Tesla prepares to launch its ‘Full Self-Driving’ system, the state of California has passed a new law that prohibits manufacturers from giving consumers the impression that their cars can drive without the driver’s attention. Can walk by itself.
Few brands have even suggested that their vehicles are capable of such a feat, with most admitting that at any level Fully autonomous driving Still years away from the market.
Under the new California law, brands are prohibited from “misleading names or marketing” of this type of technology, which immediately puts Tesla in an awkward position.
Officially, the Texas-based brand now warns consumers that its ‘Full Self-Driving’ requires constant attention and – despite what the system ‘says on the tin’ – calls it fully autonomous driving technology. Should not be considered.
What does Tesla say about fully self-driving? In their words:
Note: The below is specifically from the Tesla Australia website, not the US or other markets.
“In addition to Autopilot and Enhanced Autopilot functionality and features, full self-driving capabilities include:
Currently Active Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous. Full autonomy will depend on achieving greater reliability than human drivers as demonstrated by billions of miles of experience, as well as regulatory approval, which may take longer in some jurisdictions. As Tesla’s Autopilot, enhanced Autopilot and fully self-driving capabilities are developed, your car will be continuously upgraded through over-the-air software updates.”
However, don’t expect the full self-driving name to disappear. Although the law requires Tesla to take additional steps to explain to drivers that it is not a fully self-driving system under any plain language understanding of the term, it does require Tesla to stop using the name. do not have.
Tesla, for its part, has yet to issue a statement on the new law — although it’s also no secret that the company no longer has a public relations department.
For California, Senator Lena Gonzalez told the San Francisco Chronicle: “(The bill) increases consumer protections from dealers and manufacturers who sell new passenger vehicles equipped with semi-autonomous driving assistance features… clarity of functions and limitations. To explain. Among these features.”
More details on the new law can be found in our current story below.
September 2022: Tesla confirms full self-driving for late 2022, prepares for California marketing ban
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has claimed that Tesla’s ‘self-driving’ system is a priority, aiming to release a working system by the end of the year.
Speaking at an energy conference in Norway earlier this week, Musk said his current focus was split between his SpaceX Starship project and Tesla’s ‘self-driving’ cars.
“The two technologies I’m focusing on, ideally before the end of the year, are getting our Starship into orbit… and then Tesla’s self-driving cars. are happening”, said the CEO clearly.
“Self-driving in wide release, at least in the U.S., and possibly in Europe, depending on regulatory approval.”
As it happens, regulatory approval could still prove a problem in Tesla’s home state of California, as a bill to enact false advertising laws for advanced driver assistance systems was recently passed into state law. .
The bill was sponsored by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Lena Gonzalez, and passed Tuesday. Los Angeles Times. The bill aims to hold the automotive sector to a higher level of accountability when it comes to advertising Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).
The move comes after years of concern from various automotive parties regarding Tesla’s risky approach to naming conventions for its in-house systems.
The US Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) opened a review in May 2021 of Tesla’s so-called ‘Autopilot’ and ‘FSD’ (Full Self-Driving) systems, which are technically Level 2 autonomy systems. Classified as (considered Level 5. Fully autonomous).
Senator Gonzalez stated: “People in California think that fully self-driving is fully automated when it’s not”. According to Gonzalez, the bill was accomplished with “heavy lobbying” from Tesla.
Yet, despite the passage of California’s bill, international efforts to stop Tesla’s ADAS advertising have proven difficult to materialize.
A recent attempt by Germany to ban Tesla from marketing ‘Autopilot’ and ‘FSD’ in its domestic market was thwarted after the manufacturer appealed to the High Court. A lower court successfully banned the use of these system names in marketing materials in 2020, but Tesla never adjusted the language on its website, and opened an appeal to the high court in 2021.
There have been a number of high-profile crashes involving Tesla systems, many of which have centered around the use of its advanced traffic-aware cruise control system. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that Teslas using Autopilot have been involved in 273 crashes in the past 12 months.
More pertinently, they point out that Tesla vehicles with advanced driver assistance systems accounted for about 70 percent of the 392 accidents reported since July 2021. Tesla also accounts for most of the deaths and serious injuries in these ADAS-related incidents.
Facing increased scrutiny on various fronts across the globe, it remains to be seen whether the automaker will be forced to adjust its advertising language around its safety systems.