Tesla began recruiting more beta testers for its Full Self-Driving technology in March 2021, but it privately confirmed that the feature is nowhere near as autonomous as its name suggests. Documents sent to officials in California in 2019 and 2020 describe the option at extra cost as a level 2 feature, meaning that fully self-driving is by no means completely driverless.
“Features that include Autopilot include Traffic-Aware Cruise Control and Autosteer. Full Self-Driving (FSD) capability is an additional optional suite of features that have evolved from Autopilot and are also representative of SAE Level 2,” explains Eric Williams , the company’s associate general counsel on regulatory issues, in an email sent to a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) recipient on Dec. 28, 2020 and was noticed by The Drive.
Tesla has never claimed that Full Self-Driving (for which it charges $ 10,000) turns a Model 3 or a Model Y into a self-driving car, but the emails add fuel to a fire that intensified when regulators in October 2020 questioned the name. 2 autonomy is defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) as a system that provides partial driving automation. Crucially, the driver must stay behind the wheel and be informed at all times. Full self-driving is no more advanced than Cadillac’s Super Cruise or Tesla’s Autopilot; both are also Level 2 systems.
Drivers who pay $ 10,000 to unlock Full Self-Driving will still gain access to a generous and growing list of advanced features, including Summon, Stop Sign Control, and Auto Lane Change. Autosteer on city streets should be added soon, the company said. Neither of these features is intended to allow drivers to read a book, let alone take a long nap or pick up their car while staying at home. While Tesla will probably one day make a fully autonomous car, it still has a long way to go before Full Self-Driving lives up to its name.