This could affect many owners.
Tesla is aiming for a broad consumer release of its controversial Full Self-Driving beta 10.1 technology at any time, if not already. US safety authorities are concerned about what's going to happen and they've been monitoring the system's development progress. At the same time, the feds are investigating crashes related to the automaker's Autopilot, which is also a Level 2-rated autonomous driving system.
FSD, to be clear, has a very misleading name because it's not Level 5, the highest rank for self-driving vehicles that require no human intervention. Like Autopilot, FSD users must keep their eyes on the road and their hands ready to grab the wheel in an emergency. It all sounds a bit risky and the city of San Francisco is particularly worried. After all, the city has the greatest number of registered Tesla owners than anywhere else in America.
And therein lies the problem. Reuters reports the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) has raised concerns about FSD's safety record as it's about to be released to motorists for street and highway usage. They also have concerns about the misleading name.
"We are concerned about the safety record of this service and the name of the service as it could be confusing for consumers, and hope DMV, FTC and NHTSA continue to monitor and analyze this issue to protect consumers and the traveling public," said Tilly Chang, SFCTA's Executive Director. But what's really interesting is that California has outright rejected Tesla's FSD autonomous vehicle claims.
The state's DMV says it's still "reviewing the company's use of the term 'Full Self-Driving' for its technology." Not surprisingly, Tesla was unable to comment as it lacks a PR department. Whether one drives a Tesla Model 3 or Model X, it's possible to purchase FSD. A subscription currently runs for $199 per month.
Elon Musk said last week owners who've already paid between $6,000 and $10,000 for full system access are about to receive the so-called Beta button. When pressed by the driver, the button will tap into Tesla's insurance calculator to determine whether that particular owner has been a good driver for at least the past seven days. If so, beta access will be given. Musk did say there've been (so far) no accidents with beta users.