A new law taking effect next year in California will effectively ban Tesla from using the confusing Full Self-Driving name of its current driver-assist feature.
Senate Bill 1398 was sponsored by State Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D.-Long Beach) and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September. It aims to stop automakers or dealers from using false or misleading naming or marketing materials for a vehicle as self-driving when in reality the vehicle requires input from the driver. Such is the case with Tesla’s FSD feature, which requires the driver to constantly monitor the situation and be ready to take over in an instant.
“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,” the bill states.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that Tesla CEO and major shareholder Elon Musk lobbied against the bill and argued instead that Tesla makes its customers aware of FSD’s limitations.
Tesla also faces a class-action suit that accuses the company of misleading the public by falsely advertising its self-driving technology. The suit also accuses Musk of constantly promising deadlines for self-driving technology milestones that have not been reached.
FSD, which costs $15,000 outright or can be added as a subscription, is an extension of Autopilot, which is Tesla’s standard driver-assist feature and is essentially an adaptive cruise control that can also steer itself in a single lane. FSD adds more advanced functionality, including the ability to automatically overtake slower vehicles, automatically react to traffic lights and stop signs, and handle some parking situations. It also has a Summon feature that brings the car to the driver in parking lots, though the driver needs to remain in sight of the vehicle.
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