Tesla Autopilot, Full-Self Driving

Autopilot is a so-called 'Advanced Driver Assistance System' (ADAS) designed, developed, and managed by Tesla

Launched in 2014, Autopilot was initially limited to automatic parking and the ability to summon a car on private property. In 2016 automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane centering capabilities were introduced.

Autopilot is classified as an SAE Level 2 system, in which a car can act autonomously, but requires the driver to monitor the driving at all times and be prepared to take control at a moment's notice.

Full-Self Driving

Tesla's Full-Self Driving (FSD) capability is an enhanced version of Autopilot that was launched in 2016 and offers users a suite of more advanced features, including adaptive cruise control, automatic steering, automatic lane changing, auto park, traffic light recognition, stop sign recognition, and the ability to summon a car from a parking spot or garage.

A beta version of FSD was offered to a small group of users in the US, expanding in May 2021 to a few thousand employees and customers and in October 2021 to Tesla drivers scoring full marks on a proprietary safety scoring system.

Operator: Tesla
Developer: Tesla
Country: USA; Global
Sector: Automotive
Purpose: Automate steering, acceleration, braking
Technology: Driver assistance system
Issue: Governance; Accuracy/reliability; Privacy; Safety
Transparency: Governance; Black box; Marketing; Legal

Risks and harms 🛑

Tesla Autopilot and FSD have been criticised for being inaccurate and unsafe and violating the privacy of its customers and the general public, as well as for misleading marketing, transparency and accountability.


The safety of Autopilot and FSD and their impact on public safety have been regularly questioned by policy-makers, regulators, customers, and others. 

Privacy abuse

Misleading marketing

Research, advocacy 🧮

Investigations, assessments, audits 🧐

Page info
Type: System
Published: June 2023
Last updated: May 2024