German agency to Tesla: “Stop using term ‘Autopilot’, it’s misleading”

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Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) officials have requested Tesla to stop using the term “Autopilot” for its driver assistance feature, calling it misleading.

“It can be confirmed that a letter to Tesla exists with the request to no longer use the misleading term Autopilot for the driver assistance system of the car,” a KBA official told Reuters.

According to the report, the German agency’s letter to Tesla stated, “In order to prevent misunderstanding and incorrect customers’ expectations, we demand that the misleading term Autopilot is no longer used in advertising the system.”

Among its responsibilities, the agency oversees activities related to German road safety and product recalls.

Earlier this year, a man was killed while his Tesla Model S was in Autopilot mode, although it was later revealed that he was speeding at the time.

 

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A Tesla spokesperson sent a statement addressing its Autopilot feature and the stated concerns from German officials regarding the feature:

“Tesla’s Autopilot operates in conjunction with the human driver to make driving safer and less stressful. This is how the term has been used for decades in aerospace: to denote a support system that operates under the direct supervision of a human pilot.

We have always been clear with our customers that Autopilot is a driver assistance system that requires the driver to pay attention at all times, similar to driver assistance systems from other manufacturers. Just as in an airplane, when used properly, Autopilot reduces driver workload and provides an added layer of safety when compared to purely manual driving.

We have great faith in our German customers and are not aware of any who have misunderstood the meaning, but would be happy to conduct a survey to assess this.”

 

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