Dutch agency weighs Tesla’s use of ‘Autopilot’ name

Tesla Model S

The Dutch agency that authorized Tesla‘s “Autopilot” motorist help system for usage throughout Europe said Monday it is considering what action to take, if any, on the name after numerous German organizations stated Autopilot could be misleading.

“The RDW has no formal viewpoint about the name Autopilot, as generally we just consider technical elements and not names,” stated spokesperson Hans van Geenhuizen of the Dutch Road Traffic Service (RDW) in an e-mail.

“This is new,” he stated, referring to the possibility that the name of an owning innovation itself might be relevant to a safety evaluation.

On Sunday, Germany’s Transport Minister asked Tesla to stop marketing its electrical vehicles as having an Auto-pilot function as this might tell that drivers’ attention is not required.

Tesla stated in response to that request that the term auto-pilot had been used in the aerospace market for years to describe a system operating in conjunction with a human driver, and the automaker had always made it clear to consumers that the system needed motorists to focus at all times.

Tesla’s Auto-pilot was introduced last October, helps drivers steer and remain in lane and is intended to help – however not replace – drivers.

The system has been the focus of extreme scrutiny since a Tesla Model S motorist passed away while using the function in a May 7 accident with a truck in Florida.

Van Geenhuizen stated RDW was thinking about the matter internally and would make its formal position known – if it decides to provide one – on Tuesday.

Last year, the RDW authorized Tesla’s “Auto-pilot” function for usage across Europe. The firm’s possible concerns would just connect to the name and not to the system itself.

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