Elon Musk’s Tesla could face tighter regulation over its self-driving test in California


California has informed Tesla that it is considering tighter regulation of the electric carmaker’s driving assistance devices currently being tested on public roads, following videos posted online of the disturbing episode.

Multiple clips on YouTube and Twitter show drivers testing the full self-driving beta and suddenly having to take control of their vehicles to prevent their Teslas from hitting a pole or moving into the oncoming lane.

Tesla has noted that the devices require active driver supervision, but the California Department of Motor Vehicles said in a letter to the firm on January 5 that it is reviewing whether the features meet the definition of an autonomous vehicle.

Elon Musk’s car company has recruited some motorists to test real-world conditions for the FSD beta, which should be able to drive in the city, stop automatically or make turns.

California’s DMV wrote in its letter that it is reconsidering its classification decision following “recent software updates, videos showing dangerous uses of that technology, and open investigations” from US regulators.

“The DMV will begin further review of the latest release, including any expansions to the program and features,” the letter said.

If the DMV decides to classify Tesla’s driver assistance systems as an autonomous vehicle, the rules will be stricter.

For example, Tesla must report any problems to the agency and identify all drivers testing its new equipment.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.


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