Report: Tesla Scrubs 'Autopilot' References on Chinese Site


Tesla Motors has reportedly removed references to "Autopilot" from its Chinese website after a local driver crashed while operating his vehicle in the semi-autonomous mode.

The luxury electric-vehicle manufacturer also pulled a Chinese term for "self-driving" following complaints by the motorist that Tesla "overplayed the function's capability and misled buyers," Reuters reports.

The unnamed driver crashed earlier this month on a Beijing commuter highway, when his car failed to avoid another vehicle that was parked partially on the roadway. Both cars sustained damage, but there were no injuries.

Over the weekend, all mentions of "autopilot" and "zidong jiashi"—which literally translates from Chinese to "self-driving"—were scrubbed from the regional webpage for the Model S sedan, according to Reuters, which compared an archived version of the site.

"At Tesla we are continuously making improvements, including to translations," a Tesla spokeswoman told Reuters. She insisted there is no correlation between the crash and the website update.

Tesla did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.

Tesla launched Autopilot in October via a software update. It stressed that the feature was only semi-autonomous and motorists needed to keep their hands on the wheel. Some drivers, however, did not heed the auto makers warnings; Joshua Brown died when his Tesla collided with a tractor-trailer truck on a Florida highway in May.

A number of other incidents resulting in collisions or near-misses have landed the automaker in hot water: Shortly after Autopilot was released, a driver said his car automatically veered into coming traffic and he had to intervene to stop a crash. Then in late May, a motorist using his car's adaptive cruise control feature hit a van that was stopped on the expressway in front of him.

Last month, Tesla chief Elon Musk teased "significant improvements" to Autopilot via an OTA udpate, which Electrek says will arrive shortly.

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