Germany has clamped down on Tesla’s use of the Autopilot brand on its vehicles, claiming that the name gives drivers "incorrect expectations" about how autonomous the autopilot software is.
Tesla, formerly Tesla Motors until a recent rebrand, has received a curt warning from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) which dubbed the Autopilot brand as "misleading".
It said the naming of the system – that still requires driver input and is therefore not fully autonomous – could dangerously downgrade the driver’s role in piloting the car.
The company on the other hand claims that it has correctly marketed the vehicle stating that it required drivers to always keep their hands on the wheel despite the Autopilot feature picking up a lot of slack such as helping the car stay in lane, adjusting speed to prevent collisions and changing lanes when required.
It was ruled that the company should do more to inform drivers that they must remain fully focused on the road no matter how much AI-assistance is provided.
Earlier this year, a Tesla car, operating in Autopilot was involved in a fatal crash in Florida, USA, bringing the technology under scrutiny. A KBA spokeswoman told Reuters: "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.”
The news emerges just as the company was to hold a new product launch today (Monday 17 October). However, the debut has been delayed until Wednesday as the product "needs a few more days of refinement," according to the company's chief Elon Musk.