Tesla's 'Autopilot' misleading, Germany rules

BBC Technology 15 Jul 2020 11:43
A white Tesla model 3 is seen on the left and a Red Model S on the right on a show floorImage copyright Getty Images

Tesla's claims about its Autopilot driver-assist feature are misleading, a German court has ruled.

The use of the word "autopilot", along with other marketing material, suggested the vehicle could drive on its own, the court said.

But the technology still requires the driver to remain alert at all times.

Tesla has been banned from repeating the misleading claims. German law does not allow fully autonomous driving.

Germany's Wettbewerbszentrale fair-competition group had objected to Tesla's website promising, in July 2019, "full potential for autonomous driving" including automatic driving on motorways.

Under the heading "by the end of the year", Tesla added its cars would be able to recognise traffic lights and automatically stop and start driving in urban areas.

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In 2018, two US consumer groups also complained about the "deceptive and misleading" naming of the Autopilot feature.

And it has chosen Berlin as the site of its first major European factory.

Responding to a tweet pointing out pilots do not stop working when a plane's autopilot mode is on, chief executive Elon Musk tweeted: "Tesla Autopilot was literally named after the term used in aviation.

"Auto" is a German word for car, similar to the English word "automobile".

Police car

A British driver was disqualified from driving for 18 months after turning the system on and climbing into the passenger seat, on the motorway.

They also warned more crashes could happen if Tesla did not change the system.

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