Tesla was asked to stop advertising the Autopilot function of its electric vehicles, as a suggestion to customers that no attention is required when driving these cars. The request was made by the German Transport Minister, Alexander Drobringt, on Sunday given the fact that this kind of advertising could lead to incorrect costumer’s expectations.
Tesla’s electric vehicles have been under public scrutiny after several fatal car crashes involving its autopilot function. Due to that, the German Transport regulator, the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), has sent a letter to the company to stop it from advertising the autopilot function of their cars since that term could be misled and could compromise the life of Tesla’s costumers.
“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,” stated a spokeswoman for the Ministry in a written response.
Tesla’s Autopilot system requires the attention of the driver
Tesla is an American automaker founded in 2003. It specializes in electric cars and battery charging equipment. After the high sales achieved after the release of its first electric car, Tesla Roadster, the company hasn’t stopped growing and now it is among the best-selling electric vehicles companies.
But Tesla’s electric vehicles have been receiving critics lately due to the Autopilot system that is integrated into its vehicles. There have been fatal crashes in China and Florida, including drivers using the Tesla’s Autopilot function. As well, there was another incident in Germany involving a Tesla electric car crashing into a tourist bus while the autopilot was on.
Given the last concerns, the Federal Motor Transport Authority of Germany has sent a letter to Tesla to ask the company to stop making publicity and promoting the Autopilot function, since it can lead to misunderstanding among costumers who might think they are safe while using the function, and that while the car is on autopilot it doesn’t require the attention of the driver.
“In order to prevent misunderstandings and false expectations from clients, we are asking that the misleading term ‘Autopilot’ no longer be used in advertisements for the system,” KBA said.
Tesla clarifies the Autopilot function
But Tesla has answered given the rising concerns about the autopilot system, which has been available in the company’s electric cars since its Model S series of October 2015. The enterprise’s representatives have clarified that the Autopilot function is not supposed to replace drivers. Instead, it is a tool created to help the car steer and stay in the lane. Tesla has changed the autopilot options to prevent people from misusing it.
Therefore, Tesla has restricted the speed in which the Autopilot can be used, as well as the duration of its use. And it recognized that these new upgrades could prevent fatal crashes related to the autopilot function misuse.
“We have always been clear with our customers that Autopilot is a driver’s assistance system that requires the driver to pay attention at all times,” said a Tesla spokesman.
As well, Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, has defended the safety of the Autopilot system saying that driving with autopilot is actually 38 percent safer that driving without the autopilot activated. As well, he wrote on his Twitter account that Autopilot actually helps saving lives, since out of 1 million deaths in car crashes around the world, over half of them could have been saved if the Tesla autopilot was available.