Days after German regulators asked Tesla Motors to stop branding their vehicles as having “Autopilot” driver assistance systems, Dutch officials are concerned with the labeling, Reuters reported Monday. However, it is unclear whether they will also ask the automaker to rename the service.
German officials raised their concerns with the naming over the weekend, saying in a letter to the automaker that, in “order to prevent misunderstanding and incorrect customers’ expectations, we demand that the misleading term ‘autopilot’ is no longer used in advertising the system.” The German transport ministry also wrote a letter to Tesla owners to remind them to remain vigilant and attentive even while using the autopilot feature.
“Tesla’s autopilot operates in conjunction with the human driver to make driving safer and less stressful. This is how the term has been used for decades in aerospace: to denote a support system that operates under the direct supervision of a human pilot,” a Tesla spokesperson later told Ars Technica. “We have always been clear with our customers that autopilot is a driver assistance system that requires the driver to pay attention at all times, similar to driver assistance systems from other manufacturers.”
Tesla, which was founded by CEO Elon Musk, has been criticized for their autopilot feature before. A driver using the feature was killed in Florida in May and then another two people using autopilot were killed in July. Those incidents sparked a discussion about the safety of the vehicles. Tesla has repeatedly insisted, just like it did following this weekend’s events, the company has been forthright with its customers about the limitations and appropriate use of the autopilot features.
As automakers continue their push toward fully autonomous cars, experts have raised concerns that the technology just isn’t sophisticated enough yet. Professor Ann Williamson form the University of New South Wales, is one.
“At the moment we're asking drivers to just sit passively and wait until something happens and then it asks them to just take over really quickly and that's something human beings don't do very well,” she told ABC News in a report published Monday.