Tesla’s Auto Lane Change Function May Be Illegal In Europe

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Regulators in Germany have launched a probe over Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s auto lane change feature – which is part of the carmaker’s Autopilot system – as its legality is not at all clear in Europe.

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Auto Lane Change

As reported by CNBC, Germany’s federal transport authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt, or KBA) is probing whether Tesla’s auto lane change function —available as an upgrade of the Autopilot system— is safe to use in the country.

Newspaper Bild am Sonntag informed that the regulator is also in contact with its equivalent in the Netherlands, which also approves the use of any vehicle in Europe.

The auto lane change feature allows the car to change lanes when the Autopilot function is engaged, and for years was part of all vehicles equipped with the Autopilot feature, until it was moved to the more costly Full Self-Driving package.

In Europe, regulators have limited Tesla’s Autopilot and owners of these cars have had a less extensive version.

More Scrutiny

A KBA spokesman was quoted as saying in the German newspaper on Sunday: “The KBA has initiated an investigation into an electronic lane change function in the Tesla autopilot. This function, which the U.S. automaker offers as an accessory in some of its models, may not be permitted in Europe.”

There is no further information as to why the regulator is launching the investigation, besides the claim that the function “might not be legal.”

“The German road authority said that it is both in contact with Tesla and the Dutch vehicle registration authority RDW, which is in charge of the broader regulatory approval of Tesla vehicles in Europe,” Electrek informed.

By involving the Netherlands’ RDW, the KBA is looking into a particular issue more thoroughly, which could affect all Tesla cars sporting the feature in this market.

Scrutiny of Tesla’s Autopilot system is mounting as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the U.S. launched a second probe regarding a reported “phantom braking” malfunction at high speeds.

Tesla is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders' families.