California passes law banning Tesla from calling software for vehicles fully self-driving because it’s false advertising that makes it believe they are fully self-driving

Cruise’s CEO believes that even decades from now, we won’t get truly 100% autonomous vehicles. However, the American manufacturer Tesla already associates terminology such as Full Self-driving or Autopilot with advertisements for its vehicles. California just passed a law that prohibits Tesla from calling the software on its vehicles fully self-driving. Reason: it’s misleading advertising that suggests Tesla vehicles are fully autonomous.

A manufacturer or dealer may not mention a partial driving automation feature or describe a partial driving automation feature in advertising materials using language that implies or otherwise would lead a reasonable person to believe that the feature enables the vehicle to operate as an autonomous vehicle , or that it has a function that is not actually included in the function. A violation of that subdivision is considered “misleading advertising,” it says.

A new update for Tesla vehicles has been available since the middle of the month is coming to an end. The news: Tesla launches Steam in its cars with thousands of games. The maneuver came to revive the debate about the terminology put forward by the manufacturer (Full Self-driving, Autopilot, etc.) In fact, it reinforces the idea of ​​Don’t worry, you can even play behind the wheel, Tesla takes care of everything, you don’t have to manage anything and you don’t think about anything other than entertainment above all else. This issue of distracted driving safety arises in a context where the manufacturer itself acknowledges that its vehicles are still at the stage of driving assistance. But users consider them cars with complete autonomy.

Automation available in vehicles available for purchase today is considered Level 1 or Level 2. It refers to systems capable of performing one or more parts of the driving task under the supervision of the driver. These systems are far from level 5 automation, where the entire driving task can be performed without human intervention under all conditions.

Despite the limitations of current systems, some names seem too surprising for the driver’s ability to divert attention from the road. A study has revealed how the names used by manufacturers for these systems can send the wrong messages to drivers about their level of attention. Another revealed that drivers did not always understand the important information conveyed by the system screens.

A practical case is the name “Autopilot.” The latter is likely to cause people to overestimate the capabilities of Tesla’s driver assist technology. Tesla advocates for countermeasures by pointing out that the plane’s autopilot functions are not fully autonomous. Pilots still need to monitor their operations and intervene if things go wrong, and Tesla’s Autopilot system is no different. .

A study from the Insurance Institute for Road Safety provides valuable data for this debate. The group asked drivers questions about the capabilities of five advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). They identified the products only by their brand: Autopilot (used by Tesla), Traffic Jam Assist (Audi and Acura), Super Cruise (Cadillac), Driving Assistant Plus (BMW), and ProPilot Assist (Nissan). The respondents did not know which manufacturer made each product and they did not know its capabilities. There were 2,000 respondents in total, but each was only asked about two out of five systems, yielding a few hundred responses for each product.

It should be noted that none of these systems reliably control lane keeping and speed control in all situations. All require drivers to remain alert, and all but Super Cruise warn the driver if their hands are not detected on the wheel. Super Cruise instead uses a camera to monitor the driver’s gaze and will issue a warning if the driver is not looking ahead.

For each ADAS system, drivers were asked about the safety of various activities not recommended by car manufacturers (from taking your hands off the wheel to taking a nap while driving). More participants believed that performing each of these actions with Autopilot enabled than with any of the other four ADAS systems was harmless.

For example, 48% of respondents said it was safe for a driver to take their hands off the wheel when Autopilot was on, compared to about 33% for ProPilot Assist and less than 30% for the other systems named. Six percent of drivers said it was safe to sleep in a car with Autopilot activated, while only three percent said the same for other ADAS systems.

However, despite all this data, Tesla has just announced the launch of Steam in its vehicles, thus reinforcing the fear of distracted driving.

Distracted driving is a major cause of the increase in traffic fatalities in the United States. In the first six months of this year, 20,160 people died in traffic accidents, according to the transport minister’s estimate. This is an 18.4% increase over the first half of 2020 and the highest figure since 2006. Driver inattention is officially cited as the cause of about 10% of traffic fatalities, said Steve Kiefer, a General Motors executive who also heads a foundation dedicated to fighting distracted driving. But he and other safety experts believe the real number is much higher because they say crash investigations often overlook distraction and cite other causes, such as dangerous driving. “I think the number is closer to 50 percent,” Kiefer said.

Distracted driving results from activities that take a driver’s hands off the wheel, take their eyes off the road, or distract their attention from the task of driving. It is often linked to the use of a smartphone, such as sending text messages or e-mails while driving, but it also happens that drivers read books or apply makeup. Some states prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. Car manufacturers, Apple and Google have developed software for the car that makes it easier to use voice commands to send text messages and make phone calls hands-free while driving.

Source: CLI

And you?

What do you think of this measure?
Do you agree that terminology like Full Self-Driving can cause drivers to overestimate Tesla’s true capabilities?

Also see:

Tesla’s Autopilot can be “easily” tricked into working without anyone in the driver’s seat, according to Consumer Reports, but you shouldn’t try to

Tesla must now report Autopilot-related crashes to the government or face fines, the federal highway safety agency says

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