Two interesting things have occurred with regard to Tesla's 'Autopilot' in recent weeks, so in the spirit of optimism, let's start with the bad news first.
Tesla have been told by the German Transport Authority to cease and desist from using the 'Autopilot' brand in the country. The KBA assert that the terminology and brand gave customers false expectations of the capabilities of the software.
The 'Autopilot' system is a driver-assistance package and helps the driver with the following tasks: lane keeping, speed, lane changing and cornering. Presently, 'Autopilot' is an advanced cruise control system. Drivers must remain engaged in the management of the vehicle, and cannot treat them as self-driving cars. You'll remember in a previous blog post where we discussed the differences between self-driving and autonomous vehicles.
Tesla remain defiant, and are still using the term 'Autopilot' on their German website as of the publishing of this blog post.
In more positive, and less controversial news, Tesla have announced that all new cars produced by them will have the required hardware installed to be fully autonomous. This does not mean that they will be self-driving right out of the factory, but rather that they have the necessary equipment to be activated as fully autonomous cars in the future.
Meanwhile other manufacturers are yet to release any autonomous vehicles...
I'm a PhD student in the UK looking in to consumer innovation resistance toward autonomous vehicles. This will be a blog about both my research specifically and the wider autonomous vehicle landscape.