Tesla Reprimanded In German Courts

Wed 15th Jul 2020

Elon Musk’s Tesla company has hit a bump in the road after German courts ruled that their car’s ‘autopilot’ claims were ‘misleading for consumers’.

While the US tech company have been promising the ‘full potential for autonomous driving’ for the past two years and have a ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ built into their Autopilot software as an option, Germany’s Central Office for Combatting Unfair Competition ruled that Tesla’s cannot complete a journey without human guidance. The German court ruled that Tesla are not allowed to use any language in their marketing which suggests that the vehicle can be operated on Autopilot.

On of Europe’s leading vehicle safety testing bodies, Thatcham, also weighed in on the debate, accusing Tesla of marketing a ‘self-driving’ experience. “We have long warned of the pitfalls to the Autopilot system,” said Thatcham’s Research Director, Matthew Avery. “Its seemingly competent performance can encourage drivers to hand too much control to the vehicle and lose sight of their responsibilities behind the wheel. This is a progressive process that begins when motorists are marketed the ‘self-driving’ experience.

“Autopilot is not a self-driving system. It is there to provide driver assistance, not become an invisible chauffer. We support the German competition commission’s ruling. Naming is key, and Autopilot is an especially misleading term.”

Not surprisingly, Tesla’s outspoken founder Elon Musk was quick to criticise the decision, saying on Twitter that the Autopilot term is taken from the world of aviation and also has links with the German motorway, autobahn.