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Against Autopilot Advertising: German court accuses Tesla of misleading claims, bans autopilot advertising

Munich, Germany — Tesla CEO, Elon Musk is known for his bold, far-fetched statements regarding the capabilities and technological advancements of his company’s vehicles. 

Most recently Musk has suggested Level 5 Tesla autonomous vehicles are “very close” and “basic functionality” should be complete this year. Over the last few months Musk has been throwing around phrases such as “full autonomy” and “self-driving” to the driver-assist systems in its vehicles.

However, he may have gone too far this time—after Munich’s Regional Court banned all future use of Tesla’s use of the controversial “Autopilot” and “Full Self Driving” tag names in Germany.

Calling both “misleadingly prohibited”, the Court banned continued use of both names, due to the fact that Tesla’s promise of Full Self Driving to “drive autonomously by the end of 2019” would contain illegal driving functions in Germany.

Tesla has the right to appeal, but has since rebranded “Autopilot” as “Autodrive” in Germany.

The case was brought before the court (the docket is: LG Muenchen, 33 O 14041/19) by Germany’s non-profit Competition Center.

The Court ruled Tesla had improperly claimed its cars had full-self driving, or autonomous driving features, which the court instead categorized as Level 2 driving assistance.  

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One Response

  1. What?!! ‘Autodrive’ is OK and ‘Autopilot’ NOT?!! If so, German courts are staffed by dummkopfs!

    At least ‘Autopilot’ (in the context of what it does for aircraft) is actually a very accurate description of Tesla’s car-based system’s abilities. The fact that most people haven’t the faintest idea *what* autopilot (lower-case ‘a’) can do for a plane is… unfortunate. As a Tesla owner (and significant investor), I do wish Tesla had given it a bit more thought in the first place and come up with a name that doesn’t confuse yet still conveys the promise of what has yet to truly materialise, but there it is.

    The fact that no other country has issued a similar ban (despite Tesla’s ever expanding global EV dominance) would suggest that Germany has some sort of axe to grind.

    When Tesla really do make their cars autonomous (which will not be more than a year or so, it seems – would Level 4 (ie 80% fully autonomous) do?), will this nonsensical court ruling be repealed – even if German legislation (inevitably) bans its use on their roads ?

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