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California OKs Tesla’s ‘Full Self Driving’ Feature But It May Leave You Disappointed

The full self driving feature in development by Tesla doesn't break any rules in California, because it doesn't really self drive. Instead, Beta 9 is a suite of safety features and driving aids, all of which still require a driver actively participating behind the wheel, and, as Elon said, we should still be wary of.

According to Forbes, California has approved the use of the innovative technology everyone has been waiting for from Tesla: full self-driving. Before you start to celebrate, however, there are a few things that you should know about the Tesla full self-driving system and why the state of California decided to approve its use. In fact, you might look at the full driving system option with hopes that you can relax on your daily commute, but you may be disappointed to know that the system itself isn’t as autonomous as the name suggests.

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The Tesla brand logo | Robert Alexander, Getty Images

Tesla’s new ‘Full Self Driving’ feature isn’t all that self-driving

Tesla dealership | Scott Olson, Getty Images

The Tesla full self-driving suite, or FSD, is set up to be used as a subscription service, according to Forbes, meaning it can be renewed or canceled at any time, which is a good thing for buyers who may opt for the feature without looking into exactly what it is. The idea might bring to mind robotaxis that don’t require a driver or vehicles that can drive with the owner asleep or relaxing behind the wheel, but that isn’t quite the case — instead, the FSD is a system designed with advanced driving aids. But, the program is still in its beta phases, meaning subscribers are essentially paying to be part of a test group.

The full self driving idea is still in it’s developmental stages

Even with the new technology from Tesla in the developmental phases, it is still being allowed on the roadways with full driver attention. The company cautions drivers to remain attentive behind the wheel, as the programs used aren’t foolproof and could potentially make errors, some that could even cause accidents if they aren’t corrected by the driver. As CEO Elon Musk has stated in a tweet regarding the new update to the beta, “Beta 9 addresses most known issues, but there will be unknown issues, so please be paranoid.” Because the system is not classified as fully autonomous, it will be allowed in the state of California.

The future of autonomous driving

Regardless of the current state of Tesla’s technology, there are many manufacturers making a push for autonomous driving. While there is no telling how long it will take for this technology to develop to the point of it being stable and reliable, or if it will ever be completely accident-proof, there are several factors to keep in mind. Federal and state regulations may still require drivers to be active behind the wheel of autonomous cars in the future, no matter how good companies like Tesla are able to refine their self-driving vehicles.


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In its current state, however, the state of California’s authorities, in working with Tesla, have decided that their current system for full self-driving only focuses on providing driving aids and safety features, and as such, they have decided that the program does not break any standing state rules or regulations regarding autonomous vehicles.