With just the push of a button on the dashboard screen, any Tesla owner can now have access to the automaker’s controversial Full Self-Driving Beta program. That is, of course, provided they slapped down the $15,000 reservation fee to equip their car with the feature. Given how FSD has performed so far in the real world, we all better watch out.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the development in a tweet over the Thanksgiving holiday. Previously, FSD was only available to drivers who were deemed safe enough to responsibly use the software, as determined by a driver-monitoring system that scored your relative recklessness or cautiousness. Now, any Tesla owner, including customers who were previously deemed not safe enough to use the system, will have full access, according to Bloomberg.
The controversial driver-assistance system has never really hit the targets Musk set for it. Remember, he previously promised that by 2020 the tech would be able to safely operate a vehicle with no human behind the wheel. Can you guess what didn’t happen? Exactly that. The mixed messaging from Tesla has caused a number of legal and regulatory issues, as laid out by Bloomberg:
The US Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission have been investigating Tesla’s self-driving claims, a person familiar with the matter said last month.
A customer in California is seeking class action status for his lawsuit filed in September claiming that Tesla has deceptively marketed its driver-assistance systems.
California’s Department of Motor Vehicles accused the company in August of misleading consumers about its FSD and Autopilot systems.
The system has been plagued with issues, including major safety hazards like turning the wrong way or driving into oncoming traffic.
Bloomberg reports that Musk has been taking advantage of the U.S.’s relatively hands-off approach to regulating self-driving tech. This approach hasn’t been as successful in Europe.
“In the US, things are legal by default,” Musk told fans at a recent event at Tesla’s Berlin plant, as reported by Bloomberg. “In Europe, they’re illegal by default. So we have to get approval beforehand, whereas in the U.S., you can kind of do it on your own cognizance, more or less.”
A spokesperson for the National Highway Transportation Safety Board told Bloomberg it’s pretty much the “Wild West’’ on American roads right now.
“It’s a disaster waiting to happen,” the spokesperson said.