Tesla, in response to German regulators who called the name “Autopilot” misleading, says that 98% of surveyed consumers in Germany understand the limitations and function of its semi-autonomous driving Autopilot feature, reports Fortune. German regulators pressured the automaker to change the name of its Autopilot feature.
Tesla drivers understand Autopilot
On Thursday, the electric car maker released the results of an online survey that was done by puls Marktforschung. The survey asked Tesla owners seven questions about the Autopilot feature, including whether they ever used the feature and if they understand the car warnings that show how it should be used. Most of the owners — a sample of 675 — understand that the driver is expected to maintain control of the car at all times.
Tesla’s Autopilot feature was rolled out in October through an over-the-air software update to assist drivers in steering and staying in lanes on the highways. The main intention was to help the driver and not to take control of all the functions of operating an electric car. In a blog post, the U.S.-based automaker published a link to the survey.
In response to the suggestion from Germany’s Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA) that using the name “Autopilot” is misleading, Tesla said that it worked with a third party to survey Tesla owners in Germany to understand better how they perceive Autopilot.
“98% of customers surveyed said they understand that when using Autopilot, the driver is expected to maintain control of the vehicle at all times,” the blog post said.
Tesla’s two-pronged approach
Tesla CEO Elon Musk boasted for months that there had not been one death attributable to its Autopilot feature. Earlier this year, however, there came reports of a driver in Florida was killed tragically when his Model S crashed into a tractor trailer. Later, it was disclosed that Autopilot mode was used at the time of the crash.
Since then, there have been many complaints about the Autopilot feature, and the EV maker has implemented a two-pronged approach in the wake of these complaints. First, the automaker has been vocal that some accidents are due to drivers using the Autopilot feature incorrectly. Second, the EV maker has implemented many fences around Autopilot mode to limit the opportunity for abuse, reports Yahoo.
In October, Germany’s head of transportation agency asked the U.S. firm to stop advertising its EVs as having an Autopilot function, as it might suggest that the drivers’ attention is not required. The agency is also conducting its own studies into the Autopilot function to determine if it is a safety hazard, notes Fortune.