Ford’s Mike Levine Throws Shade At Musk And Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Option

Mike Levine, Ford’s (NYSE: F) Product Communications Director, isn’t shy about calling Tesla out.

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter last week that Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta is “now available to anyone in North America who requests it from the car screen, assuming you have bought this option.” And Levine, who was asked about Ford’s own version of the tech, was quick to point out problems with Tesla’s FSD.

Tesla started testing out the option in 2020, slowly rolling it out to users who pass certain safety requirements. Musk did not elaborate on the details of the mass rollout, but all signs so far indicate that this safety threshold will no longer be enforced, and anyone who paid the $15,000 fee for the FSD option will be able to access the beta program.

This isn’t the only part about the FSD option that’s raising eyebrows. The name “Full Self-Driving” itself suggests that the car is able to autonomously drive itself. But, like Levine said, it’s still “stuck at Level 2.” 

There are six levels of autonomous driving, according to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Levels 0 through 3 all still require a driver and for the driver to be paying attention to the road. And at the moment, legally speaking, only systems up to Level 2 are allowed on North American roads.

Level 2 means the driver very clearly still needs to be at the wheel — e.g. no self-driving. Tesla’s FSD system is at the same level as the more conservatively named ProPilot of Nissan and Super Cruise of General Motors.

The state of California in September passed a bill that targets the option’s misleading name, and the Department of Justice is said to have also launched a criminal investigation into the matter.

On the road, it’s still unknown how many incidents can be linked to FSD failures, but recent tests of the beta version have seen alarming errors like ignoring stop signs deployed by school buses, as well as incidents of crashing into emergency vehicles.

Information for this briefing was found via The Verge, SAE, the Globe and Mail, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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