tesla autopilot

Tesla scores partial success in German authority’s Autopilot probe: report

Credit: Tesla

Tesla has scored a partial win in the ongoing Autopilot investigation by Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), which has been ongoing since the start of the year. As per a spokesperson from the KBA, tests carried out on Tesla’s vehicles have revealed that a number of “weaknesses” that were uncovered months ago had already been addressed by the EV maker through its software updates. 

However, this does not mean to say that Tesla Autopilot is now off the hook. As per a KBA spokesperson, tests on Tesla vehicles as part of market surveillance still found “abnormalities” on the company’s driver-assist systems. Thus, while some issues have been “already partially remedied by the manufacturer,” “further remedial measures are still being tested and validated” for Autopilot’s remaining problems.

The KBA issued criticisms for several of Autopilot’s features in its earlier assessments. Among these were Autopilot’s automatic lane change capabilities, which may not be permitted in Europe. The KBA also complained that Tesla unlocks some functions of its vehicles if drivers achieve a certain number of points. As noted in a report from WirtschaftsWoche business weekly, the KBA believes that vehicles must be safe enough so that all their features can be operated by all drivers. 

The KBA’s complaints about unlocked features and a driver’s points are quite interesting, as such a system is not used by Tesla for basic Autopilot and Enhanced Autopilot features. Tesla does utilize a Safety Score system, but that’s only used for drivers who wish to be part of the FSD Beta program, which is not yet available in Germany for now. With this in mind, it would be interesting to see exactly which locked Autopilot features the KBA was referring to in its complaints. 

The German authority has also expressed displeasure at Tesla’s software updates, which reportedly lack transparency. KBA President Richard Damm took the issue seriously during an interview, threatening to decommission Teslas if needed. “If we do not receive any information, we cannot rule out that systems do not comply with the rules,” Damm said.

This is not the first time that Tesla and its Autopilot system have become a target for entities in Germany. Just last month, Tesla was able to win a lawsuit filed by the Wettbewerbszentrale (Competition Center), which claimed that Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD were misleading customers into thinking that their cars can drive themselves without human input. The Higher Regional Court of Munich sided with Tesla, however, noting that anyone purchasing a vehicle from the EV maker is appropriately informed about what Autopilot and FSD can and cannot do. 

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Tesla scores partial success in German authority’s Autopilot probe: report
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