High-risk drivers to get full access to Tesla’s driver assistance system

High-risk drivers in North America are now allowed full access to Tesla’s controversial driver-assistance system in a move that has some questioning the company’s intentions. Previously, the feature was only approved for buyers who were considered safe drivers, whatever that means, in North America, but now it is available to all. CEO Elon Musk says the Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta was inaccessible to drivers who didn’t score high enough on an assessment Tesla uses to set insurance rates.

FSD has been highly criticised for not living up to Musk’s statements which included using the technology as an answer to solve the problem of autonomous driving. Back in 2019, Musk said within one year, no human would need to be behind the wheel but his predictions did not materialise. FSD still uses a fully attentive driver to keep their hands on the wheel and be ready to take over at any moment. The differences between his statements and the actual product have exposed the company to regulatory and legal risks.

The US Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are one of those investigating the company’s self-driving claims. Now, a class-action lawsuit filed in September in California claims the company used deceptive marketing for the FSD. The move to make the FSD available to more customers is thought to be a bid to help Tesla’s revenue increase after Musk admitted demand for his vehicles has been “a little harder” to come by. But, the safety of other drivers on the road is in question if previously high-risk drivers are allowed to operate the FSD despite apparent risks to others.

Patrick Hummel hits back at that claim, saying an unspecified portion of the FSD sales is added to the company’s revenue.

“FSD purchases haven’t been fully recognised in Tesla’s P&L because consumers had bought a promise rather than a fully working product.”

The current lift in restrictions for those wanting to access the FSD only applies to North America, as Musk says regulators in Europe are less permissive of such a technology.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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