In a tweet late last week, CEO Elon Musk said the system “is now available to anyone in North America who requests it from the car screen, assuming you’ve purchased this option. “.
The most complete of Tesla’s three systems
Complete Self-Driving is the most comprehensive and expensive of the three driver assistance programs offered by Tesla. The company offers three levels of driver assistance software:
Automatic pilot is standard on all Teslas, although it has sometimes been an extra cost option. It includes intelligent cruise control that adapts the car to the speed of surrounding traffic. A lane centering feature helps keep the vehicle centered in its lane.
Improved autopilot returned earlier this year after several years of absence from the market. A $6,000 option, it adds navigation on freeway on- and off-ramps and interchanges in addition to what the autopilot can do. It also adds a self-parking system and includes a “summon” feature that allows owners to summon the car at speed from the nearby parking lot.
Complete self-driving is now a $15,000 option. Tesla says it will read and react to traffic lights and stop signs and steer around certain turns with the driver’s “active supervision.”
Tesla says Full Self-Driving is in “beta testing” and requires owners to sign a complex waiver to engage it.
The term “test” seems to suggest some kind of laboratory conditions or controlled experiment with close supervision. But that’s not how Tesla tests the software. Instead, it allows owners to use it on public roads with the rest of us as if it were a finished product.
Development of industry standards
The automotive industry has standardized on a five-level framework from SAE International, a worldwide association of engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial vehicle industries, to describe the self-driving systems.
At level 1, a car can intervene briefly to assist a driver who still has his hands on the wheel. Lane-centering systems that help you stay in the center of your lane, for example, are Tier 1 technology.
At level 2, cars have more than one level 1 system, and they can operate simultaneously. Many cars combine an adaptive cruise control system that can maintain a set distance from the car in front with a lane centering system.
As the scale progresses towards Level 5, the car’s systems take on more responsibility for driving. A level 5 system – still theoretical – would require neither steering wheel nor pedals.
Tesla lawyers have told government regulators that fully autonomous driving is a Level 2 system and “will continue to be an advanced SAE Level 2 driver assistance feature.”
Controversies and Investigations
However, state and federal regulators have opposed the company’s publicity for the system.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles has accused Tesla of falsely advertising the “Full Self-Driving” name. A court has yet to rule on the charge.
The federal government, meanwhile, could conduct multiple investigations into Tesla’s alleged automation software. A Reuters report in October claimed the Justice Department was conducting up to three separate investigations into the matter. At least one, according to Reuters, could result in criminal charges.
Federal law requires automakers to report accidents that may have involved driver assistance systems to the government. In June, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had received 392 reports. Nearly 70% of them – 273 crashes – involved Tesla’s systems.
Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, told Bloomberg in April, “We basically have the Wild West on our roads right now. It’s an impending disaster. »
Controversy over names
Automotive safety watchdog groups have increased scrutiny of so-called automation systems in recent years.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety plans to begin evaluating the systems next year. Meanwhile, a coalition of safety groups has come together to call on the auto industry to adopt standard names for partial automation systems, saying names such as “Full Self-Driving” can cause drivers to trust systems to do more than they are designed to do. .
It is proven that people rely too much on these driver assistance systems. A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, for example, recently found that 42% of Tesla Autopilot users and 54% of GM’s Super Cruise software users “said they were comfortable treat their vehicles as fully autonomous.”
Only allowed in North America
Tesla has made the move in the United States but is not selling the system overseas.
“In the United States, things are legal by default,” Musk told investors during a presentation last spring. “In Europe, they are illegal by default. So we have to get pre-approval. Whereas in the US you can sort of do it on your own, more or less.
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