Tesla refuses to take back its reference to its self-driving cars as ‘Autopilot’


Clearly, Tesla cars in a way drive themselves; however, its Autopilot technology has been a source of major concern for the company. Consumer Reports have asked the company to take back the feature referring to it as too much autonomy that is too soon. After all, the death of a man came after there was an accident involving the autopilot.

Alexander Dobrindt, the transport minister, Germany, has asked the company to get rid of the term “Autopilot” as it can make consumers believe that the car can do more than it is capable of doing. It is worthy of note that Model X and Model S can hold their lane and keep at a speed that is safe enough even while it makes use of Autopilot.


However, the technology is meant mostly for highways where there is a limit to the obstacles that are seen on the road and which also allows the drivers to have their hands on the steering wheel while being alert. The aim of the Autopilot is to aid humans and not to take over from them entirely.

Tesla, on the other hand, has refused to heed the advice from Dobhrindt, on the argument that its drivers are well aware of the limits of the system and that it was entirely up to them to take note.

The company also said that its use of the term autopilot has been in use for many decades in the aerospace which is like a system that lends support but strictly under human pilot supervision.

The company along with Mercedes has been under attack for how they promote their technology. The latter last summer described its E-Class in an ad campaign as “self-driving” that is capable of handling itself when on the highway just like Tesla cars, but that there must be a human being to man the wheels.

This is the silent fight that automakers get involved in trying to brand their cars. In few years to come, when a consumer wants to shop for a luxurious car, the consumer will be seeing things like for Audi and Ford – Traffic Jam Assist; for Mercedes – Drive Pilot; for Cadillac – Supercruise; for Volvo – IntelliSafe Autopilot; for BMW – Driving Assistant Plus; and for Lexus – Automated Highway Driving Assist. Meanwhile, all these terms point to the same thing which is a car that is able to maintain a safe distance and remain in its lane.

As the real automakers come up with cars that are really self-driving in the actual term, the terms will be common but more confusing, and this is why regulators feel the need for them to step in.