Tesla has announced a new penalty for inattentive drivers in its latest over-the-air software update. A two-week ban from using the Full Self-Driving Beta will be levied against any driver who experiences five 'Forced Autopilot Disengagements," which occurs when the system automatically disengages for the remainder of a trip after giving the driver numerous audible and visual warnings to stay attentive.
The 2022.44.30.5 software update release notes state:
“Full Self-Driving (Beta) Suspension – For maximum safety and accountability, use of Full Self-Driving (Beta) will be suspended if improper usage is detected. Improper usage is when you, or another driver of your vehicle, receive five ‘Forced Autopilot Disengagements.’ A disengagement is when the Autopilot system disengages for the remainder of a trip after the driver receives several audio and visual warnings for inattentiveness. Driver-initiated disengagements do not count as improper usage and are expected from the driver. Keep your hands on the wheel and remain attentive at all times. Use of any hand-held devices while using Autopilot is not allowed.
The FSD Beta feature can only be removed per this suspension method and it will be unavailable for approximately two weeks.”
Does a two-week ban from using a feature you paid up to $15,000 (approx. £12,300) for sound harsh? Believe it or not, this punishment is more lenient than it was before. Prior to the new penalty, Tesla would remove users from the Full Self-Driving Beta without any direction on when they might be reinstated. It could be weeks or it could be many months, and it was entirely at Tesla's discretion. At least now the company has codified its penalty procedure into something explicit that will be applied consistently to all FSD Beta members.
It's important to remember that, despite its name, which is now illegal in California, Tesla's Full Self-Driving Beta is not actually self-driving tech. At best it's Level 2 on the Society of Automotive Engineers' scale of driving automation, which is still classified as a support system that requires a driver's full attention at all times. Currently there are no vehicles on sale in the United States that are Level 3, which is the lowest bar on the SAE's five-level scale for being called "autonomous."