The California Department of Motor Vehicles is “revisiting” its opinion to not regulate Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta software. The news comes after numerous safety advocates and regulators have expressed concern about the company’s willingness to allow its customers to test its Level 2 driving feature in public. (The news was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.)
The state’s DMV oversees the largest autonomous vehicle testing program in the country, with over 60 companies permitted to operate test vehicles on public roads. Only a handful are approved to operate fully autonomous vehicles without safety drivers at the wheel, and even fewer have been approved to deploy vehicles for commercial purposes.
Unlike other companies doing autonomous vehicle testing in the state, Tesla is using its own customers, rather than trained safety drivers, to monitor the technology. Tesla owners have to pay $12,000 for the FSD option, up from $10,000 as of last month. Tesla does have 32 vehicles registered with the DMV, but it routinely reports few or no miles driven in autonomous mode.
The DMV has stated in the past that Tesla’s FSD doesn’t fall under its autonomous vehicle testing program because it still requires a human driver to monitor the vehicle. But in a letter sent to State Senator Lena Gonzalez, the agency now says it is “revisiting” that decision. (Gonzalez is not to be confused with Lorena Gonzelez, a member of the California State Assembly, who once tweeted, “F*ck Elon Musk.”)