California’s Department of Motor Vehicles is reviewing whether Tesla is violating a state regulation by advertising its vehicles as being fully autonomous without meeting the legal definition of self-driving.
The department confirmed the review Monday in an email to The Associated Press. State regulation prohibits advertising vehicles for sale or lease as autonomous if they can’t comply with the regulatory definition, it said.
Tesla advertises a $10,000 “Full Self-Driving” option on the website for its electric vehicles, but the same website says the vehicles cannot drive themselves. CEO Elon Musk has said he expects Tesla’s vehicles will be able to drive themselves more safely than humans sometime this year.
“The current enabled features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous,” the website says.
Tesla is testing its “Full Self-Driving” software in the U.S. in cars driven by selected owners.
The company based in Palo Alto, California, also calls its partially automated driver-assist system “Autopilot.”
Tesla, which has disbanded its public relations department, did not respond Monday to a request for comment. The Los Angeles Times first reported the DMV’s review.
The DMV, which regulates testing of self-driving vehicles on California roads, said violating the regulation can bring a suspension of autonomous vehicle permits and revocation of a manufacturer’s license. It would not comment further on the review, including when it began.
Tesla has a DMV permit to test autonomous vehicles with human backup drivers. But it is not among the companies permitted to test without human drivers.
The company says its “Full Self-Driving” software can navigate, automatically change lanes and follow traffic lights and stop signs. “Autopilot” can keep a car centered in its lane and a safe distance from vehicles in front of it.
The probe comes amid several high-profile crashes nationwide — including a fatal wreck in California — involving Autopilot in recent weeks.
Cox Media Group