Germany Doesn't Like Tesla Using the Name 'Autopilot' in Advertising

By Tom Pritchard on at

German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt has asked Tesla to stop advertising that its cars have an 'autopilot' function. Apparently this is misleading, since it suggests that the driver doesn't need to pay attention to the road.

A spokesperson for Germany's Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) confirmed to Reuters that the ministry had written to Tesla with the request. Given the amount of scrutiny Tesla's Autopilot system has been subject to over the last few months, it makes sense that officials would want drivers to know exactly what they're getting into.

A Tesla spokesperson likened the use of the term to the autopilot used in aviation, and insisted that the company always made it clear that autopilot still requires a driver's full concentration. Saying, "Just as in an aeroplane, when used properly, Autopilot reduces driver workload and provides an added layer of safety when compared to purely manual driving."

The KBA still insists that drivers could still get the wrong impression, and to avoid misunderstanding they're demanding Tesla stop using the term 'autopilot'. They do kind of have a point. When the average person thinks of autopilot, they're far more likely to imagine something akin to the inflatable man from Airplane than something you have to pay constant attention to.

The point here is that if you have a Tesla with Autopilot make sure you're still paying attention to the road. No sitting back and watching Harry Potter, lest you get into a fatal accident. [Reuters via Venturebeat]