A German court has dismissed Autopilot driver-assistance system ads for Tesla and remarked that the automaker misled consumers with the advert.
The Munich Regional Court on Tuesday ruled that the automaker can no longer use the ads in Germany because they improperly claimed the vehicles have “full potential for autonomous driving.”
The judges also said Tesla wrongly promoted that its cars would be able to self-navigate in cities by the end of 2019.
“Using the term ‘Autopilot’ and other phrases suggest the cars were technically able to drive completely autonomously,” the court said in an emailed statement.
“Additionally, it is claimed that would be legal in Germany, which isn’t the case.”
Tesla can appeal the decision, which bans the company from making the claims but does not take effect for a month. The ruling may foreshadow the resistance Tesla, which is building a factory in Berlin, is likely to face as it tries to market its vehicles abroad. The ruling also illustrates the hurdles Tesla faces as it tries to bring autonomous driving to the road.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk quibbled with the ruling, writing that Autopilot was named after a term used in aviation to refer to systems that aid but don’t replace pilots.
Tesla Autopilot was literally named after the term used in aviation. Also, what about Autobahn!?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 14, 2020
Musk has long offered optimistic views on the capabilities of his cars, even going so far as to start charging customers thousands of dollars for a “Full Self Driving” feature in 2016.
Years later, the company still requires users of its Autopilot system to be fully attentive and ready to take over driving at any time.
Musk said last week the electric car manufacturer was close to making its cars capable of automated driving without any need for driver input, so-called Level 5 autonomy.
The suit was brought by the Center for Protection Against Unfair Competition, a German non-profit financed by companies and industry groups. It argued that Tesla is promising customers more than its Autopilot system actually delivers.