Hanover German Chancellor Angela Merkel has kicked off the world's biggest digital business fair in Hanover with a speech urging developers not to leave their fellow humans behind. At the opening ceremony for the CeBIT expo, Merkel appealed to tech firms to include the'millions of people who in some ways don't know what awaits them' in the digital revolution, adding that politicians could not achieve such inclusion without help from the industry. Merkel is set to peruse the latest trends at the trade fair in detail on Monday, when it opens to the public, together with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. 'We cannot let a situation arise in which only certain people generate wealth,' Abe said on Sunday, reinforcing the theme of shared benefits. Merkel admitted that Europe was all too often lagging behind in digital technology.
SEE ALSO: Elon Musk teases'unexpected' new Tesla product Officials from Germany's Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) have requested that Tesla stop using the term "Autopilot" for its driver assistance feature, calling it misleading. "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 official told Reuters. "A letter to Tesla exists with the request to no longer use the misleading term Autopilot." According to the report, the German agency's letter to Tesla stated, "In order to prevent misunderstanding and incorrect customers' expectations, we demand that the misleading term Autopilot is no longer used in advertising the system."
Just days ago, Germany's Federal Motor Authority sent letters to Tesla owners warning them that their cars' "Autopilot" feature is strictly there for driver assistance, not driver replacement. Still, it's not hard to see what German authorities are concerned about. After all, Tesla is clearly heading down the self-driving path: CEO Elon Musk said last year that he was aiming to have fully autonomous cars ready in 2018, though he later seemed to shy away from his claim. It's also worth noting that domestic authorities are probably keeping a close eye on Tesla's response to this situation; a draft regulation released by California's Department of Motor Vehicles in September prohibits advertising cars that can sort of drive themselves a la Teslas as "autonomous" or "self-driving."
Following two confirmed Tesla Autopilot-related crashes in the U.S., including a fatality, German lawmakers are planning legislation that would require carmakers to include a black box for cars. More commonly associated with aircraft, the proposed black box would record when an autonomous system was engaged, when the car asked the driver to retake driving duties and when a human driver took control or not, according to Reuters. The intent of this legislation would help both carmakers, regulators and law enforcement officials determine who is responsible in the event of an autonomous car crash. For example, along with the black box idea, German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt also wants legislation to include language that allows the human driver to check out and not pay attention to traffic but also requires them to remain in the driver seat so they can intervene in the case of an emergency.