The Californian company says the term had been used in aerospace for decades.
The German saga for Tesla continues, as the local Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has asked the automaker through the country’s Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt to stop using the word “Autopilot” in its advertising campaigns.
On Sunday, Dobrindt explained Tesla is advertising its electric vehicles as having Autopilot function, which could mean drivers’ attention is not required. The Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) had written to the Californian company to make the request, a spokeswoman for the ministry revealed.
“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,” she told Reuters in a written response.
According to Reuters, the letter says that “in order to prevent misunderstanding and incorrect customers' expectations, we [KBA] demand that the misleading term Autopilot is no longer used in advertising the system.”
In response, a spokeswoman for Tesla described the Autopilot term as a system operating in conjunction with the driver. She also explained the automaker had always made it clear to customers it requires drivers’ attention at all times and under all conditions.
“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,” she commented.
Still, the KBA decided to inform all owners of Tesla cars that their vehicles should not be operated without their constant attention.
Earlier this month, Germany’s transport ministry called the tech a “considerable traffic hazard,” as internal tests showed problems with the system, such as not alerting drivers when the Autopilot enters a situation the software couldn’t fully recognize. Recently it became clear that the term Autopilot is going to be banned in California too, as lawmakers want to avoid confusion over the system’s capabilities.
All the criticism could become obsolete once the Autopilot 2.0 arrives – and this could happen on Wednesday. Last week Elon Musk announced an “unexpected” unveiling for October 17, but yesterday he tweeted (look below) the announcement is moving to October 19, as the company needs “a few more days“ to finalize it.
As reported earlier this year, the improved Autopilot will bring more sensors, three forward-facing cameras, additional radar units, and some software updates.