Tesla ordered to dump Autopilot brand


Tesla has been ordered to drop the Autopilot brand name, which it uses to promote its driver-assistance software, in Germany.

The Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) confirmed it had told Tesla to scrap the “misleading” term.

It said the term gave customers “incorrect expectations” that they could stop concentrating on the road and let Autopilot take over completely.

Tesla said it had always told drivers to keep their hands on the wheel.

The Autopilot software helps cars:

  • stay in lane automatically
  • adjust their speed in reaction to other vehicles
  • change lane without the driver’s intervention

However, Tesla has been clear that the feature should only be used on the motorway, and drivers must still pay full attention to the road.

The firm has been under scrutiny after one of its vehicles running Autopilot crashed, killing the owner.

“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,” a KBA spokeswoman told news agency Reuters.

In a statement, Tesla said the term autopilot had been used in aviation for decades.

“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 company said.

The company’s co-founder Elon Musk had been expected to make an announcement related to Tesla on Monday, but he has now tweeted that it has been delayed until Wednesday for “refinement”.


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