Tesla Might Be Forced to Drop "Full Self-Driving" Name in California as Bill Passes Senate

California, the place where Tesla’s story started 19 years ago, is also the state where problems began to mount for the EV maker. After the DMV objected to the use of the Full Self-Driving name, a bill prohibiting the same has passed through the Senate and is awaiting the final signature from Governor Newsom.
Tesla might be forced to drop “Full Self-Driving” name in California as bill passes Senate 6 photos
Photo: Tesla
Tesla might be forced to drop “Full Self-Driving” name in California as bill passes SenateTesla Autopilot and FSDTesla Autopilot and FSDTesla Autopilot and FSDTesla Autopilot and FSD
Tesla Autopilot and Tesla Full Self-Driving are two different systems. One describes a basic safety-assist system not much different from others in modern vehicles, while the other takes things to another level by offering (limited, for now) automated driving features. Some considered both names confusing, and some wanted them banned altogether.

The Full Self-Driving suite, in particular, has been marred by controversies, especially as people take the name literally. Lawsuits have been filed on both sides of the Atlantic, but so far, Tesla has not been banned from using the controversial term. Things might change, though, relatively soon, as the California state’s Senate has passed a bill to limit the use of the “self-driving” name in advertising.

The bill is sponsored by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Lena Gonzalez, who believes people might be confused and think the car can drive by itself. Gonzales was also annoyed by the DMV’s slow response to Tesla’s advertising claims. As you remember, California DMV has also looked into the same matter but is yet to reach a conclusion.

“People in California think Full Self-Driving is fully automated when it’s not. Are we just going to wait for another person to be killed in California?” Gonzalez told the LA Times.

Like recently in Germany, the California bill initiated by Gonzales might be based on unchecked facts. She says that Tesla is the only carmaker that claims its vehicles are “self-driving.” Apparently, Lena Gonzales has not read Tesla’s website, which clearly mentions that Tesla cars are not fully autonomous, and the driver is fully responsible for the vehicle. “The currently enabled features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous,” reads the warning on Tesla’s website.

This fact alone was enough for a higher court in Germany to clear Tesla in a lawsuit trying to block the use of the Full Self-Driving name. The court ruled that Tesla made it clear on their website that both Autopilot and Full Self-Driving are driver-assist features, and the driver needs to be in control at all times.

We don’t know how the California bill will change things for Tesla, especially as the bill doesn’t touch on the technicalities of Tesla’s automated driving technology. The state is Tesla’s biggest market in the U.S., so it’s important enough, but we don’t see Musk changing the name of the FSD. Grab your popcorn and watch this new legal fight brewing.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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