Tesla drivers who are inattentive during the operation of the company’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) suite will have a different penalty than before.
They will now lose access to the company’s Full Self-Driving Beta program for “approximately two weeks” if the vehicle detects inattentiveness from the operator.
Tesla wrote in its software update release notes (via Not a Tesla App):
“Full Self-Driving (Beta) Suspension---For maximum safety and accountability, use of Full Self-Driving (Beta) will be suspended if improper usage is detected. Improper usage is when you, or another driver of your vehicle, receive five ‘Forced Autopilot Disengagements.’ A disengagement is when the Autopilot system disengages for the remainder of a trip after the driver receives several audio and visual warnings for inattentiveness.
"Driver-initiated disengagements do not count as improper usage and are expected from the driver. Keep your hands on the wheel and remain attentive at all times. Use of any handheld devices while using Autopilot is not allowed.
"The FSD Beta feature can only be removed per this suspension method and it will be unavailable for approximately two weeks.”
Previously, Tesla would disable Full Self-Driving and remove the driver from the Beta program temporarily, with only the automaker deciding when the car would be re-entered into the Beta pool. Users reported suspensions of up to six months before their vehicles had their privileges reactivated.
Prior to Tesla’s Beta program, Tesla penalized drivers using FSD improperly by pulling the vehicle over and disabling the suite for the remainder of the drive.
Tesla is attempting to combat improper FSD usage to not only increase driver and road safety in general but also to help prevent damaging the narrative behind semi-autonomous and fully-autonomous driving development. Accidents that occur due to improper use damage not only the company’s image, but also how people perceive autonomous driving. The company maintains that owners using Autopilot or Full Self-Driving must remain attentive while using the features.
There is still not a fully-autonomous passenger vehicle available on the market, and Teslas do not drive themselves. There are companies out there, like GM’s Cruise, that test fully-autonomous passenger rides in a controlled setting using geofencing. However, no car on the market currently allows you to ease attention when behind the wheel. Full Self-Driving is a Level 2 autonomous driving system, according to Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standards.