The agency has in the past pointed to California state law in defense of its current approach. California’s laws on autonomous vehicle technology use definitions derived from a document published by the Society of Automotive Engineers, which breaks down vehicle automation into six levels, from Level 0 to Level 5.
The DMV has said it considered Full Self-Driving to be Level 2, because, according to Tesla, it requires a human driver to assure safety. But so do test cars from the other robotaxi companies developing Level 4 vehicles, said Phil Koopman, an engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has assisted the SAE on its standard-setting documents.
“The DMV concludes that FSD is not an automated vehicle because a human driver must monitor to intervene. That is a description that fits any AV test vehicle with a safety driver, which FSD is,” Koopman said in an email to The Times.