Germany is demanding for the removal of the "autopilot" tag in Tesla's advertising campaign. The German government believes that the use of the term is misleading.
According to Alexander Dobrindt, Germany's Minister of Transportation, Tesla must stop advertising that their cars have autopilot function because this suggests that the car can drive well without the full attention of the driver.
The Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), Germany's transport regulator, has sent a formal letter to the company detailing the country's request. The KBA has also sent letters to Tesla owners to warn them of the risks of using the technology without their full attention especially when under traffic regulations.
In their defense, a spokesperson for Tesla said that the term has been used for decades by the aerospace industry to describe any system that operates in conjunction with a human driver. She also stressed that Tesla has always said that the autopilot system requires the attention of its drivers at all times.
Tesla's Autopilot feature has come under fire after a September accident in Germany involving a Tesla car. The driver was using the autopilot system when his car crashed into a tourist bus. No one was seriously hurt but the accident reminded many of the fatal one that happened last May involving another Tesla Model S. The accident resulted in the death of the driver.
According to the reports, the vehicle in question crashed into a tractor trailer while in Autopilot mode. An investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicated that the Model S was traversing a divided highway in Florida when the truck crossed the path of the car. The company believes the white color of the trailer and the bright sky were the reasons why the Tesla did not see the trailer. The driver of the trailer also did not apply the brakes.
Another fatal crash involving the controversial Model S occurred in northern China back in January.