However, according to autonomous vehicle experts and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which regulates cars, there are no self-driving cars for sale today. Tesla’s “complete self-drive” is more like upgraded cruise control, they say.
Tesla says that a The human driver must be alert and ready at all times to take the lead and the company allows only those people he believes are the safest drivers to access the system for the first time.
Despite these limitations, Tesla is free to describe its technology as “completely self-driving”. Tesla owners who download the “full self-drive” beta must tick a box to certify that it is their responsibility to remain vigilant with their hands on the wheel and be ready to take action at any time. “Complete self-driving” does not make your car autonomous, they say.
A person who buys a Tesla vehicle from their website sees the technology described in big, bold letters as “completely self-driving,” but the fine print below says the technology is driver assistance technology. Driver assistance technologies should help people to drive more safely, with functions such as front collision warning, blind spot warning and lane departure warning systems.
The US government has no performance standards for automated driver assistance technologies, said Reimer. Tesla, or any automaker, can essentially do what it wants when it comes to these technologies.
“We are at the mercy of automakers to introduce secure systems. We need drivers to want to be risk averse, ”Cathy Chase, president of the Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety, told CNN Business. “The combination of these two makes a perfect storm for future disasters.”
Tesla did not respond to requests for comment and generally does not interact with the professional news media.
“If driver expectations exceed the capabilities of their vehicle, it can result in serious and fatal accidents,” they wrote.
The Federal Trade Commission, tasked with protecting consumers from fraudulent or unfair business practices, declined to tell CNN Business why it didn’t take action against Tesla. The FTC also said it would not comment on whether there is an open investigation, a spokesman said.
Choosing the wrong technology
NHTSA and Congress, which can get the agency to regulate certain things, have missed an opportunity in recent years to focus on driver assistance technologies, according to experts in autonomous driving and law.
“It jumps many, many steps ahead while we’re not dealing with what might be saving lives,” Chase said.
Bryant Walker Smith, a professor in the University of South Carolina law school, said European regulators are way ahead of the United States in regulating driver assistance technologies. Smith said technologies like pedestrian detection and automatic braking make sense mandatory for new cars and there should be performance standards for them.
“There is low hanging fruit,” said Smith. “We could save lives much sooner than we have self-driving cars.”