- Sep 5, 2009
California passed a new law banning Tesla from calling its software Full Self-Driving (FSD). Although Tesla has never claimed that FSD was fully autonomous, the electric–maker is developing the technology for fully autonomous vehicles. Until its vehicles are fully autonomous, drivers must be alert and ready to take over at all times when engaging FSD or Autopilot.
California lawmakers, however, disagree with the labels of FSD. Senate Bill 1398 was one of the hundreds that Governor Newsom signed into law. The new law takes effect in 2023 and specifically targets Tesla’s name for its software. The bill was sponsored by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Lena Gonzalez, who claimed that Tesla falsely advertised its tech and that doing so was a safety issue.
The actual language of the law doesn't bar "FSD" ... but courts will likely conclude it does. Tesla will have to rename the feature soon.
(a) A dealer or manufacturer shall not sell any new passenger vehicle that is equipped with any partial driving automation feature, or provide any software update or other vehicle upgrade that adds any partial driving automation feature, without, at the time of delivering or upgrading the vehicle, providing the buyer or owner with a distinct notice that provides the name of the feature and clearly describes the functions and limitations of the feature.
(b) A manufacturer or dealer shall not name any partial driving automation feature, or describe any partial driving automation feature in marketing materials, using language that implies or would otherwise lead a reasonable person to believe, that the feature allows the vehicle to function as an autonomous vehicle, as defined in Section 38750, or otherwise has functionality not actually included in the feature. A violation of this subdivision shall be considered a misleading advertisement for the purposes of Section 11713.