The electric vehicle maker is coming under fire again for its Autopilot, this time in Germany. In fact, German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt has confirmed that they are asking Tesla to stop making the Autopilot part of their advertising campaigns.
“In order to prevent misunderstanding and incorrect customers’ expectations, we demand that the misleading term Autopilot is no longer used in advertising the system.”
This is an excerpt from a letter sent by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) to Tesla. Daily Bild am Sonntag (BamS) had obtained a copy of the letter and a spokeswoman from the ministry verified its authenticity.
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“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,” she said to Reuters.
In the U.S. and all over the world, a number of accidents involving a Tesla vehicle has occurred in recent months. Most, if not all, of them involved the vehicle’s Autopilot system being engaged.
In the U.S., the first known fatality behind a Tesla on Autopilot was that of former Navy SEAL Joshua Brown . His car had crashed into a tractor trailer and following the incident, Tesla says that its sensors may have not detected the trailer due “against a brightly lit sky” that day.
Since then, several other Tesla crashes had occurred, including one in China. Some of these crashes resulted in driver fatality.
Because of these, Tesla had decided to update its system wherein an alert flashes should the driver’s hands get off the wheel. The vehicle would then slow down until the driver engages the steering wheel once again.
For their part, the KBA had also written to Tesla owners, warning them to remain alert while they are driving their vehicles.
Following this, a Tesla spokeswoman issued a statement saying, “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.”
It remains unclear whether Tesla would comply with the ministry’s demands.
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