The sale of Tesla soon banned in California? Autopilot bothers the authorities

Tesla’s Autopilot and Advanced Autonomous Driving (Full Self Driving or FSD) features continue to rack up setbacks from US authorities. A new threat looms that could go as far as a ban on the sale and manufacture of Teslas in California.

A new standoff has just begun between Tesla and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of the State of California. At the heart of the dispute, whose documents have been visible since August 6 on The Verge, we find the way in which Tesla promotes its Autopilot system and its improved Autopilot (Full Self Driving or FSD). Behind accusations of false or misleading advertising, California’s DMV is threatening to suspend Tesla’s license to operate in the state.

What does California blame Tesla for?

The California DMV office does not endorse the way Tesla promotes its driver assistance systems, both in name and descriptions. For the DMV office, these elements are misleading, because cars cannot really be considered autonomous vehicles.

This isn’t the first time Tesla has been attacked over the names of these features. The brand has already been confronted with this in Germany in 2016. Despite all the invitations to use other, less controversial names, Tesla has never changed its strategy, the Autopilot and the function of “fully autonomous driving capability” continue to appear on the brand’s commercial sites.

Autopilot features // Source: Screenshot from Tesla site

However, Tesla recently adapted its communication to specify the framework for using these technologies. Thus, on the commercial site of the brand (available in different languages), we can read:

Current features require active monitoring by the driver and do not make the vehicle self-driving. Some features require the turn signals to be activated and have a limited range. Enabling and future use of these unattended features is dependent on reliability proven by billions of miles of testing to be significantly better than that of human drivers, as well as regulatory approval, the receipt of which may be longer in some countries. As these self-driving features evolve, your vehicle will be continuously upgraded through over-the-air software updates. »

This is not enough in the eyes of the Californian DMV, which certainly wants to reduce the misuse of Tesla driving aids which can lead to certain accidents.

Can California ban the sale and production of Tesla in its state?

The license granted to Tesla expires on October 31, 2022, the California DMV office has the option of not renewing the authorization or even revoking it.

Is this really what the DMV wants? We can doubt it, because Tesla is booming. This decision seems counterproductive for California, which is seeking to develop the electric vehicle. However, this remains a means of pressure to try to get Tesla to move, which tends to stick to its positions without ever questioning itself.

Recall that Tesla’s Autopilot system is under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for an increase in accidents, as well as phantom braking, concerning the brand’s vehicles.

As news stories involving drunk or sleeping drivers having activated Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving features are increasing in the United States, the authorities certainly want to act. However, Tesla, and especially Elon Musk, are instead considering expanding the use of its autonomous driving system (FSD), even if it is still imperfect. Elon Musk said again during the general meeting of shareholders that he was very satisfied with it. It is understandable that the services attached to road safety are concerned about the situation.

Leave a Comment