Tesla Inc.’s name for its trademark driver-assistance system lacks “common sense,” according to the country’s top transportation regulator.
Using the term Autopilot as a feature of its electric vehicles belies Tesla’s own requirement for drivers to keep both hands on the wheel, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Monday, adding that marketing language is not part of his department’s investigations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a DOT agency, has opened probes into Autopilot’s role in collisions with other vehicles and sudden-braking incidents.
“I wouldn’t call something ‘Autopilot’ if the manual explicitly says that you have to have your hands on the wheel and the eyes on the road all the time,” Buttigieg said in an interview with Bloomberg News in Washington. “That’s not saying anything about the NHTSA scope of investigation, I’m just saying at a common sense level. I think that’s a concern.”