Despite efforts by authorities in Germany (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt) to claim that the name of Tesla’s “Autopilot” self-driving features suite is misleading, and that it encourages reckless, dangerous vehicle operation, it appears that the actual owners there don’t agree.
A new survey of Tesla owners in Germany that Tesla and a third party conducted apparently found that “98% of customers surveyed said they understand that when using Autopilot, the driver is expected to maintain control of the vehicle at all times.”
That’s about what one would expect, given how explicitly Tesla explains “driver” responsibilities in its user agreement for Autopilot (which has to be read, or clicked through before use of the feature) and walk-through introductions to the car when it is bought.
The survey won’t put to bed German criticism of the Autopilot feature, as the root of the criticism is no doubt the threat that Tesla poses to the German auto manufacturer industry and to the pride of those who consider the German industry to be the best in the world — Autopilot’s level of safety is certainly not the issue at hand. However, it probably will make the truth of the matter more apparent to those who want to be aware of it.
What possibly could partially be put to rest the seemingly endless ego-defending of the German auto industry with regard to Tesla, though, is the firm’s recent expansion of operations in Germany — through the purchase of Grohmann Engineering.
With the acquisition, it should become easier for some Germans to claim that Tesla’s success is solely down to the parts that it sources from German companies and to German employees, which should cut down on the defensive behavior — one would think, anyways. (Tesla’s success is of course actually down to the work of a great many people and firms from around the world, and to the vision and initiative of key execs such as Elon Musk, JB Straubel, and others.)
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