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October 17, 2016updated 25 Jul 2022 5:33am

Elon Musk delays Tesla announcement as German regulators order scrapping of Autopilot

Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) issues warning over 'misleading' Autopilot branding.

By Ellie Burns

Those gearing up for Elon Musk’s anticipated Tesla announcement will have to wait a few more days, with the Tesla co-founder moving the announcement from today, Monday 17 October, to Wednesday 19 October.

The Tesla co-founder’s reasons for delaying the announcement, which has been shrouded in secrecy, was put down to the launch needing ‘refinement’.

The postponement of the announcement follows an order from the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) for Tesla to drop its Autopilot brand name. Autopilot is the name given to promote the company’s driver-assistance software, with the KBA calling the term ‘misleading’ and leading customers to have ‘incorrect expectations.’

“It can be confirmed that a letter to Tesla exists with the request to no longer use the misleading term Autopilot for the driver-assistance system of the car,” a KBA spokeswoman told news agency Reuters.

Tesla, however, has fired back, arguing that it has always told drivers to keep their hands on the wheel and making clear that the feature should only be used on the motorway.

The Autopilot has been criticized recently after having been involved in a number of car crashes. In July the company admitted that its autopilot feature had been involved in a second car crash, although the electric carmaker was quick to deny blame and stated that the autopilot function was being used incorrectly at the time of the crash.

This followed an earlier car crash in which the driver of the car died after colliding with a lorry. The death of Tesla driver Joshua Brown was blamed on the Model S Car’s inability to recognise “the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky” that had driven across the car’s path. As media reacted, labelling the tragic loss as the first death caused by self-driving technology, Tesla said in a statement:

“The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S.”

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Tesla has always stated that “customers using autopilot are statistically safer than those not using it at all”.

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