Germany's Transport Minister has demanded that Tesla Motors drop the word 'autopilot' when describing its cars.
(CCM) — A spokeswoman for Germany's Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has confirmed that the ministry sent a letter to Tesla Motors demanding that the automobile company cease referring to its electric vehicles as having an Autopilot feature, Reuters reports. Tesla's Autopilot feature has been the subject of increased scrutiny after a driver died in a collision with a truck while using the capability in the Model S vehicle. According to the letter sent to the company, calling the cars' driver assistance feature "autopilot" is deceptive, as it might suggest that drivers' attention is not needed while driving the cars when it is activated. "In order to prevent misunderstanding and incorrect customers' expectations, we demand that the misleading term Autopilot is no longer used in advertising the system," the letter is reported as saying.
In response to the ministry's request, a Tesla spokeswoman suggested that the company had no plans to budge on the issue, saying that it had always made it clear to customers that the assistance system required drivers to pay attention at all times. It also noted that the term had been used in aerospace for decades to describe similar human-dependent systems. "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," the spokeswoman said.
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