Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving suite has been given the green light for use in Israel by the country’s Ministry of Transport and Road Safety unit. The decision comes on the heels of the Ministry’s decision from earlier this month to ban the use of Tesla’s driving-assist feature.
Members of the Ministry initially banned Tesla Autopilot for use in the country after being under the impression that the system is designed to replace human driving. However, talks between Tesla representatives and ministry officials further clarified that Autopilot is a driving-assist feature that requires drivers to maintain control of the vehicle and have two hands on the steering wheel at all times, according to sources close to the matter.
It should be noted that while the Ministry lifted the ban on the use of Autopilot, some features within Tesla’s Full Self-Driving suite like Smart Summon that allow drivers to remotely control a vehicle from their mobile app remain banned. Legislation changes would be needed to allow for the legal use of “remote control” features, according to Calcalist.
There seems to be a common misconception among people not familiar with the finer points of Tesla Autopilot and the intended proper use of available features of its Full Self-Driving suite. Tesla requires vehicle operators to remain alert at all times and have implemented a number of features and alerts that require a driver to remain attentive while the vehicle is in operation.
If the steering wheel does not sense the driver’s hands are in control of the vehicle, it will advise the driver to place their hands on the steering wheel through a sequence of visual and audio alerts. If these requests are not complied with, the vehicle will automatically activate its hazard lights, come to a stop, while disabling Autopilot for the remainder of the trip.
Tesla made its presence in Israel official in early December when the company registered a wholly-owned subsidiary by the name of “Tesla Motors Israel” in the country. Tesla stated that its operation in Israel will be the ” importation, distribution, sale, maintenance, and repair of electric vehicles and mobile energy storage systems, energy generation systems and equipment, including solar panels, solar energy systems, and/or other solar energy conversion systems.”
Israel is also taking its own steps to provide a sustainable future for its citizens. They plan to install at least 2,500 electric vehicle charging stations by mid-2020 according to YNet News. The country’s adaptation of sustainable driving through Tesla and other electric vehicle companies is proof that Elon Musk’s vision of clean transportation is becoming accepted throughout the world.