A Munich court has something to say about Autopilot.
Although Tesla's Autopilot system is an advanced piece of tech, it's certainly not perfect. The number of past accidents, some fatal, involving Autopilot has sparked plenty of controversy and debate. And now a German court has issued a ruling that has caused Tesla CEO Elon Musk's blood to boil.
Reuters reports a Munich Regional Court judge ruled earlier this week that Tesla misled consumers on the abilities of Autopilot and it can no longer advertise the system in Germany. The Center for Protection Against Unfair Competition, a German non-profit, filed a lawsuit against Tesla last month accusing the carmaker of promising customers something it didn't actually provide. The court agreed.
Tesla is now banned from including "full potential for autonomous driving" and "Autopilot inclusive" in its German advertising. The judge added the average customer might think a new Tesla Model 3, for example, is capable of being driven without any human intervention. That would mean the vehicle has Level 5 autonomy, the highest possible rating for self-driving cars.
Autopilot, however, is rated at Level 2, meaning drivers can remove their hands from the steering wheel but must still remain alert with their eyes on the road in case they need to suddenly take control. The system has also been criticized by US safety regulators at the NHTSA for its potentially misleading name, but have made no move against banning advertisements.
Tesla says it has repeatedly told customers Autopilot is not the same as fully autonomous driving, but accidents are still happening.
Not at all surprisingly, Elon Musk posted on Twitter following the ruling and had this to say: "Tesla Autopilot was literally named after the term used in aviation. Also, what about Autobahn!?"
Tesla can appeal the ruling but aside from Musk's tweet, has made no further comment at this time. Ironically enough, earlier this month Musk announced at a Chinese tech conference Tesla was closer than ever to achieving Level 5 autonomy for its vehicles. When - or indeed if - it will be rolled out is another matter entirely.