Tesla in court in Germany over 'misleading autopilot claims'
The Munich Organisation is tackling the EV manufacturer head-on
One of the biggest talking points of Teslas vehicles is the so-called 'autopilot' system which allows the car to effectively drive itself along stretches of highway, with the driver remaining vigilant and still technically in full control of the car. Unfortunately, some drivers take this as meaning the car is fully-autonomous and proceed to carry out unrelated (and sometimes dangerous) tasks behind the wheel, assuming that the Tesla has everything under control.
Naturally, this has caused several accidents involving the Tesla Model 3, Model S and Model X due to drivers putting their faith totally in this autonomous system rather than keeping their hands on the wheel or their eyes on the road, with victims claiming that the name 'autopilot' is misleading.
According to the German media outlet Automobilwoche, the Munich Association - an organisation fighting against 'unfair competition' has taken Tesla to court in Munich over claims that the EV manufacturer wrongly leads owners to believe that the cars can drive with total autonomy on German roads - thereby opening up Tesla to a false advertising claim.
The problem is, Tesla advertise their autopilot system as being capable of "automatic steering, acceleration and braking" also allowing for the "full potential for autonomous steering." The caveat is that Tesla also mention that these features do still require "active driver monitoring" - therefore meaning that you are in fact NOT able to just 'leave the car to it' and start going through your daily emails whilst behind the wheel.
The Munich Association therefore believes Teslas advertising campaign around the 'Autopilot' function leads to false ideas and impressions about the capability of the cars self-driving system, and is wanting the manufacturer to cease promoting the system as an "Autopilot" on safety grounds.
Munich Group CEO and lawyer Andreas Ottofulling states that Tesla advertising their self-driving capabilities in this way is a "serious disadvantage for vehicle manufacturers who comply with advertising regulations" thereby stating that Tesla in fact do break advertising standards rules.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this isn't the first time the Munich Association have taken Tesla to court, as back in 2019 it successfully argued that Tesla could no longer advertise their Model 3 with prices "according to estimated savings" as this mislead potential stakeholders and violated information regulation.
Should Tesla be able to continue to promote their self-driving features as an 'Autopilot' function? Let me know below.