Tesla employees, including the company’s director of Autopilot software, CJ Moore, and associate general counsel, Eric Williams, couldn’t confirm to California regulators that Tesla would be able to produce a vehicle that is truly without driver this year, despite CEO indications that he would. .
During a January earnings call, Musk said he was “very confident that the car will be able to perform with greater reliability than humans this year.”
At an Axel Springer awards ceremony in December, Musk said, “I am extremely confident that we will achieve full autonomy and return it to Tesla customers next year. The moderator asked him if he was talking about “Level 5”, or completely driverless technology, and Musk nodded and replied, “Yes, yes. “
A team from the California DMV Autonomous Vehicles branch asked Tesla employees about Musk’s message about Level 5 autonomy in a meeting on March 9. The correspondence was originally obtained by legal transparency group Plainsite as part of a California Public Records Act request.
DMV regulators wrote in their meeting notes that “DMV has asked CJ to process, from an engineering perspective, Elon’s message on L5 capacity by the end of the year. “
The notes continue, “Elon’s tweet does not match the engineering reality according to CJ. Tesla is currently at level 2. ”
In its memo, the DMV refers to CJ Moore. Level 2 technology refers to a driver assistance system that is not autonomous, but instead forces a driver to stay in the driver’s seat, ready to steer the car at all times.
Musk frequently touted Full Self-Driving, or FSD, and FSD’s beta functionality on Twitter, as he did in a series of tweets on March 6:
In a follow-up letter to Tesla on April 21, Miguel Acosta, head of the autonomous vehicles branch of the California DMV, warned the electric vehicle maker to meticulously communicate the proper use and limitations of its systems then. that it extends the FSD. beta program to more pilots.
“As Tesla knows, the public’s misunderstanding of the limits of technology and its misuse can have tragic consequences,” Acosta wrote.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened more than two dozen crash investigations involving Tesla. The National Transportation Safety Board has warned that Tesla is using drivers on public roads to test advanced autonomous features and called on the NHTSA to issue stricter guidelines around the technology.
Tesla was not immediately available to comment on the DMV memo.
Read the entire California DMV memo on Plainsite.