Bryant Walker Smith, an autonomous vehicle law expert at the University of South Carolina, described the Tesla emails as "cringe-worthy." He said "it's so obviously clear that there's a contradiction between what Tesla is saying in its marketing role" versus what its engineers and lawyers are telling the DMV. "One side is inflating those expectations, the other side is massaging them," he said.
Although "mushy words" are used throughout the industry to describe robot car technology — from driverless to autonomous to self-driving to driver assist — there is no ambiguity about the word "full" in Full Self-Driving, Smith said. It means a car that drives itself. "There's a difference between a doctor telling you you're healthy and telling you you're completely healthy," he said.