The chair of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board told The Wall Street Journal that the name of Tesla's "Full Self-Driving Capability" mode was "misleading and irresponsible" and urged Tesla to delay its rollout.
The comments by Jennifer Homendy come as Tesla is preparing to let drivers request an upgrade to the system to help them navigate cities, according to the report. Homendy said Elon Musk's company should delay the move to address current safety concerns.
Tesla requires that humans be in control of cars at all times. Yet the company has repeatedly come under fire from critics who say the branding of Tesla's driver-assistance technology implies humans don't need to grasp the wheel and pay attention to the road.
Tesla "has clearly misled numerous people to misuse and abuse technology," Homendy said in the interview.
The NTSB is an investigatory body that does not have regulatory powers, but it's previously called out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for not putting in place minimum safety standards for monitoring whether drivers are paying attention when assistance systems are on.
NHTSA has since opened a preliminary investigation into the Autopilot feature, a lower level of driver assistance, on an estimated 765,000 Teslas. That probe focused on crashes involving emergency vehicles.
Two Democratic senators have also urged the FTC to investigate Tesla's claims.