California assesses whether Tesla IncThe autonomous driving tests of. require regulatory oversight, following “videos showing unsafe use of this technology” and federal Tesla vehicle crash investigations, a state regulator said.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has stated that Tesla’s “full self-drive” or FSD beta requires human intervention and is therefore not subject to its autonomous vehicle regulations.
But the agency “is revising that decision following recent software updates, videos showing unsafe use of this technology, open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the opinions of other experts, “the department said in a letter Friday to Lena Gonzalez, chair of the state Senate transportation committee.
The Los Angeles Times first reported the letter.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
The electric vehicle company has expanded the rollout of what it describes as the “beta” of its advanced driver assistant software, FSD, raising safety concerns by effectively allowing untrained drivers to test how the technology works on public roads.
Critics say Tesla was able to avoid state regulatory oversight by telling the Department of Motor Vehicles that its FSD features don’t make its cars self-sufficient.
The department said it had informed Tesla that it would “begin a more in-depth review of the technology of their vehicles, including any expansion of current programs or features.”
“If the capabilities of the features meet the definition of an autonomous vehicle under California law and regulations, DMV will take steps to ensure that Tesla is operating under the appropriate autonomous vehicle licenses,” the agency said in a statement. communicated.
Under the regulations, Tesla would have to report specific accidents and contraventions to FSD, said Phil Koopman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania.
It would also “trigger a driver’s background check to ensure (a) a clean driving record,” he said.
Currently, the regulations cover companies such as the Google affiliate, Waymo, and General Motors, which are testing autonomous vehicle technology on public roads in California.
FSD allows vehicles to perform certain driving tasks such as lane changes, but Tesla says the features “require a fully attentive driver.” Nonetheless, Tesla markets the technology as “fully autonomous driving” and will charge up to $ 12,000 for the software.
The DMV also said its review of Tesla’s use of the term “fully autonomous driving” is continuing.
“The DMV shares the concern of many other safety players about the potential for driver inattention, misunderstanding or misuse as these systems become more prevalent,” he said.