Tesla Officially Admits That Its FSD Technology Is A SAE Level 2 System

K. Rawat's image
K. Rawat 

Automotive Journalist

March 22, 2021  at 10:48 AM

Despite Tesla never claiming its Full Self-Drive System to be autonomous, there wasn't much clarity pertaining to the details of the system. However, this has now been clarified by a Tesla spokesperson in an email to California’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Last year in October some 1000 Tesla vehicles arrived with semi-autonomous driving for city roads. However, in a letter to California's DMV, an attorney from Tesla said that “there are events and circumstances on which the machine isn't effective at recognizing and reacting.

“Currently neither Autopilot nor FSD Capability is an autonomous system, and currently no comprising feature, whether singularly or collectively, is autonomous or makes our vehicles autonomous,” Eric Williams, Tesla’s associate general counsel wrote the California DMV in December.

Since 2016, Elon Musk has been prophesying that entirely driverless technology is right around the corner. The $10,000 option that Tesla sells as Total Self-Driving Ability isn't, in actuality, effective at full self-driving. Inspired by high-than-expected demand, last weekend Elon Musk said that his company would produce the driver-assistance strategy readily available for more clients. 

Most Tesla buyers have high expectations from its latest FSD, called "City Streets," an add-on coming in at $10,000. They pitch on the applications to fulfill level 3 autonomy as defined by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), which does not want a driver to remain careful while driving.

In case Tesla is going to deliver a fully driverless operation in 2021, it will not leave time and energy to manifest, analyze, and verify complicated, safety-critical software. So it would be simple for clients to understand that the application Tesla named "Full Self Driving" is, in fact, a beta version of Tesla's long-awaited fully self-driving software merely Level 2 autonomous driving features. But in its communications with California officials, Tesla makes it evident that's not correct. 

Tesla does plan to develop Level 3 or more advanced autonomous driving capabilities in its following software. "Tesla's development of true autonomous characteristics (SAE Levels 3+) will follow our iterative process (development, validation, early release, etc.) and any such features will not be delivered to the general public until we have fully validated them and received any required regulatory permits or approvals," the company said in the DMV document.

Elon Musk has a long record of announcing over-optimistic timelines for his products. It's not certainly Tesla failed to fulfill an optimistic deadline determined by its CEO.