Tesla's self-driving software is under scanner in this state
California government is evaluating whether Tesla's full self-driving vehicle tests require regulatory oversight, following videos showing a dangerous use of that technology and federal investigations into Tesla vehicle crashes, reports Reuters.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles had said that Tesla’s full self-driving (FSD) beta technology requires human intervention and therefore is not subject to its regulations on autonomous vehicles. However, the agency is reportedly revisiting that decision following recent software updates.
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The move comes after videos emerged on the internet showing a dangerous use of that technology, open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the opinions of other experts.
The electric car manufacturer has been expanding the rollout of what it describes as the beta version of its advanced driver assistant software, which will allow full self-driving instead of the current semi-autonomous self-driving technology known as Autopilot. However, the FSD sparked several safety concerns by effectively allowing untrained drivers to test how well 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 do not make its cars fully autonomous. The department reportedly said that it has notified Tesla about initiating further reviews of the technology of their vehicles, including any expansion of the current programs or features.
The agency reportedly said that if the capabilities of the features meet the definition of an autonomous vehicle according to California law and regulations, DMV will take steps to make certain that Tesla operates under the appropriate autonomous vehicle permits.
Under this regulation, Tesla would need to report crashes and traffic tickets specific to the FSD, said Phil Koopman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania.