German authorities ask Tesla to stop using "misleading" Autopilot term in its ads

By midian182 ยท 8 replies
Oct 17, 2016
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  1. Despite its name, Tesla often reminds customers to keep their hands on the wheel when using the company’s Autopilot function in its vehicles. But this isn’t enough for the German government, which has asked the company to stop using the term in its ads.

    Reuters reports that a spokeswoman for Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) confirmed a letter had been sent to Tesla, “with the request to no longer use the misleading term Autopilot for the driver assistance system of the car.”

    This year has brought plenty of controversy for Tesla’s feature. In May, a Florida man was killed when the system failed to spot a truck as it crossed lanes. The glare of the sun meant the car's cameras couldn’t see the trailer and the brakes weren’t applied. The fact that Tesla and Elon Musk sold $2 billion worth of Tesla shares just 11 days after the accident didn’t help the company’s defense.

    The safety of Autopilot was brought into question again last month when reports of another fatal crash surfaced. The incident apparently took place in China sometime in January - months before the Florida accident. There was also the news that Mobileye - the Israeli startup that supplied the image-recognition hardware used in Tesla’s Autopilot technology – had ended the partnership because the automobile maker is “pushing the envelope in terms of safety,” though Tesla disputed this claim.

    Responding to the KBA letter, a Tesla spokeswoman noted that the term had been used in the aerospace industry for decades when referring to the system that works in conjunction with pilots. “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,” she said.

    The KBA wrote to owners of Tesla vehicles last week, stating that the Autopilot could not be operated without their constant attention. When the system first launched last year, several YouTube videos appeared showing users traveling on roads with their hands off the wheel. One person sat in the back seat as the driverless car hit 51 mph.

    Elon Musk will be unveiling a new Tesla product this week. He was originally going to reveal it today but the announcement has been moved to Wednesday. It’s possible that he will address the Germany situation during the event.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 17, 2016
  2. adisoftcafe

    adisoftcafe TS Enthusiast Posts: 40   +19

  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Do people really think that the 'autopilot' is idi0t proof and don't have to make any mental judgements or keep their eyes on the road anymore (not that a helluva lot of drivers ever do that)? It'll get better over time but it's still in it's infancy stages, it's shortcomings are bound to rear their heads.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2016
    Lionvibez likes this.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,335   +1,983

    I'll believe it's here to stay when the insurance companies give you a discount for using it!
  5. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,828   +633

    Common guys, you have to hand it to Tesla, they're just trying to realize the true American dream. Being able to sit in the backseat of your auto-driving car going 70 MPH while not only eating a cheeseburger but also using your mobile device.
  6. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,265   +436

    Yup stupid people die first.

    And those that believe everything a company slaps on a box or marketing die after them.
  7. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    The power of marketing. I guess if we didn't believe some of it ourselves we'd own nothing.
  8. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,265   +436

    True but I would like to think most on this site are similar to me and research your products before buying them. That's whats computer savy people do!
  9. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Yes, tech savvy folk go all in with researching when it comes to buying techie things, myself included. But when it comes to non tech things, not so much, (read if at all) I just buy the product that I remember best from commercials. That's the power of marketing.

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