After China Crash, Tesla Scrubs 'Autopilot'

Hello, 'self-assisted driving'
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2016 8:14 AM CDT
This Tesla Model S crashed in Florida in May while in autopilot mode, killing driver Joshua Brown.   (NTSB via Florida Highway Patrol via AP, File)
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(Newser) – Weeks after the first crash of a Tesla in China, the US carmaker has deleted the terms “self-driving” and “autopilot” from its website in that country, Reuters reports. The move came after the 33-year-old driver accused Tesla salespeople of misleading him about the capabilities of the automated driving function, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Aug. 2 accident occurred when the Tesla hit a car parked partially in the highway, per Reuters. Luo Zhen said he took his hands off the wheel for "about 10 seconds," according to the Journal. Both cars were damaged but there were no injuries. Since then, several references to the Chinese terms for “autopilot” and “self-driving” were deleted from the webpage for the Tesla Model S sedan, and “self-assisted driving” added instead, per Reuters.

A Tesla spokesman called the timing of the language change coincidental. "We’ve been in the process of addressing any discrepancies across languages for many weeks," she told Reuters. Tesla said it has retrained staff to keep both hands on the wheel when teaching the autopilot function. In May, a Tesla driver was killed in Florida after his Model S sedan slammed into a tractor-trailer. Neither the driver nor the car’s autopilot sensors noticed a tractor-trailer in its path. It was the first fatal crash of the Tesla and prompted a federal investigation. Authorities are investigating whether autopilot mode was to blame for a Tesla crash in Pennsylvania in July. (Read more Tesla stories.)

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