Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” label will soon be illegal in California

A new law taking effect in California next year will effectively ban Tesla from using the confusing name Full Self-Driving for its current driver-assistance feature.

Senate Bill 1398 was sponsored by State Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D.-Long Beach) and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September. It aims to prevent automakers or dealers from using false or misleading naming or marketing materials for a self-driving vehicle when in reality the vehicle requires driver input. Such is the case with Tesla’s FSD feature, which requires the driver to constantly monitor the situation and be ready to take over immediately.

“A manufacturer or dealer shall not name a partial driving automation function or describe a partial driving automation function in marketing materials using language that would imply or otherwise mislead a reasonable person to believe that the function enables the vehicle to function as an autonomous vehicle” , says the invoice.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that Tesla CEO and major shareholder Elon Musk has campaigned against the bill, arguing instead that Tesla is making customers aware of FSD’s limitations.

Tesla is also facing a class-action lawsuit accusing the company of misleading the public by falsely advertising its self-driving technology. The lawsuit also accuses Musk of constantly promising deadlines for missed milestones for autonomous driving technology.

FSD, which costs $15,000 outright or can be added as a subscription, is an extension of Autopilot, Tesla’s standard driver assistance feature, and is essentially adaptive cruise control that can also steer itself in a single lane. FSD adds advanced features including the ability to automatically overtake slower vehicles, automatically react to traffic lights and stop signs, and handle some parking situations. It also has a summoning function that brings the car to the driver in parking lots, although the driver must keep an eye on the vehicle.