Tesla Not Allowed to Call Software ‘Full Self-Driving’ in California


California passed a new law banning Tesla from calling its software Full Self-Driving (FSD), after the state's Department of Motor Vehicles claimed calling it FSD was false advertising.

Though Tesla is developing the technology for fully autonomous vehicles, it has never claimed FSD is there yet, and says drivers must be alert and ready to take over at all times when engaging FSD or Autopilot.

California lawmakers, however, disagree with the labels of FSD. Senate Bill 1398---one of hundreds Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed into law---takes effect in 2023 and specifically targets Tesla’s name for its software.

The bill was sponsored by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Lena Gonzalez, who claimed Tesla falsely advertised its tech and doing so is a safety issue.

An excerpt from the new law reads as follows:

“A dealer or manufacturer shall not sell any new passenger vehicle that is equipped with any partial driving automation feature or provide any software update or other vehicle upgrade that adds any partial driving automation feature, without, at the time of delivering or upgrading the vehicle, providing the buyer or owner with a distinct notice that provides the name of the feature and clearly describes the functions and limitations of the feature.

"A manufacturer or dealer shall not name any partial driving automation feature, or describe any partial driving automation feature in marketing materials, using language that implies or would otherwise lead a reasonable person to believe, that the feature allows the vehicle to function as an autonomous vehicle, as defined in Section 38750, or otherwise has functionality not actually included in the feature. A violation of this subdivision shall be considered a misleading advertisement for the purposes of Section 11713.”

On its website, Tesla says all new vehicles have the hardware needed in the future for FSD.

“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 website says. “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.”

In November, a Tesla owner involved in an accident on Thanksgiving Day claimed FSD malfunctioned; police are still investigating the driver’s claims.

In August, Tesla’s Autopilot Software Director Ashok Elluswamy shared data showing how the software prevents around 40 crashes daily that would have been caused by sudden unintended acceleration. Several owner accounts are crediting Autopilot and FSD for saving their lives.

We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.

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