DMV is Revisiting Policies on Regulating Tesla’s Full Self Driving Technology.
For many years now, Tesla has been testing autonomous vehicle technology on public roadways without reporting crashes and system failures to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as other robot car developers are required to do under state regulations.
The Los Angeles Times reports that after being confronted with a number of viral videos showing the automakers Full Self-Driving beta tech driving vehicles into dangerous situations and a letter of concern from a key lawmaker, the DMV has said it is reviewing Tesla’s behavior and reassessing its own policies.
Why DMV is Taking This Stance
On Jan. 5, the DMV informed Tesla that it is revisiting its opinion that the company’s test program does not fall under the department’s autonomous vehicle regulations because it requires a human driver. But, recent software updates, viral videos showing dangerous use of the technology, and open investigations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have led the DMV to re-evaluate its policies, officials said in a letter to State Senator Lena Gonzalez who chairs the Senate’s transportation committee.
Under Tesla’s Full Self-Driving beta program, vehicle owners supervise the operation of the cars, which are programmed to autonomously navigate highways and roadways stopping at stop lights and stop signs and making left and right turns into traffic. Other companies like Waymo, Cruise, Argo, and Zoox are also testing such tech on California’s roadways
Dangerous Situations With Tesla FSD
Even though these cars do sometimes crash, there are few videos on social media showing them in dangerous situations. The difference between those tech companies and Tesla is that Tesla is testing these vehicles without drivers who have not been trained to do the testing. Participants in Tesla’s Full Self-Driving beta pay Tesla $10,000 for the privilege – a price that’s about to go up to $12,000.
If the DMV changes its policy, Tesla would have to report accidents and system failures giving the public data that is needed to evaluate the safety of this technology while also making test-driver requirements more stringent. We’ve all seen those viral videos of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving beta vehicles driving into oncoming traffic, driving on railroad tracks instead of the roadway, and colliding with traffic barriers and lampposts. One Tesla on Autopilot reportedly mistook the moon for a yellow light.
Our auto defect attorneys welcome the DMV’s move to reassess their stance on Tesla’s reporting procedures. The automaker should absolutely be required to report and make public car accidents and technological failures associated with its semi-autonomous driver-assist features. While technological innovation is important, it should never come at the expense of public safety.