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. As it turns out, those letters were just the opening salvo. According to a report from Reuters, the German government is asking Tesla to stop using the term "autopilot" in its advertising entirely out of concerns that people misinterpret its purpose. To be absolutely clear, your Tesla will not drive you around town on its own... yet. A Tesla spokesperson maintained that the word "autopilot" has been used in the aerospace industry for years in reference to systems that assist pilots in flight, and that the company has always been clear that people still have to pay attention to the road.
The design of Tesla's Autopilot feature contributed to a January 2018 accident in which a Model S sedan smashed into the back of a fire truck in Southern California, according to federal safety investigators. It is the second time the National Transportation Safety Board has found Tesla partially responsible for a crash involving the semiautomated feature. The federal board says it's also investigating two other Autopilot-involved crashes. No one was hurt in the 2018 crash, but investigators found that the driver had flipped on Autopilot about 14 minutes before the crash and had not actively steered for the final 13 minutes. Investigators said the driver's inattention and overreliance on Autopilot were probable causes of the crash.
BERLIN – Police in northern Germany say that a Tesla driver is blaming the car's Autopilot after crashing into the rear of a bus on a highway. Ratzeburg police say that the crash happened Wednesday afternoon on a stretch of autobahn about 50 km (30 miles) east of Hamburg. The Tesla driver was slightly injured. Police said in a statement Thursday that the 50-year-old Tesla driver told officers he had used the Autopilot. It wasn't immediately clear whether police had themselves confirmed the Autopilot's use, and calls to the Ratzeburg police precinct weren't answered late Thursday.
A Tesla car has crashed into a parked police car in California. The driver suffered minor injuries and told police he was using the car's driver-assisting Autopilot mode. The crash has similarities to other incidents, including a fatal crash in Florida where the driver's "over-reliance on vehicle automation" was determined as a probable cause. Tesla has said customers are reminded they must "maintain control of the vehicle at all times". In a statement, it added: "When using Autopilot, drivers are continuously reminded of their responsibility to keep their hands on the wheel."