Tesla faces scrutiny by German regulator over Autopilot

Germany regulators investigating Tesla Autopilot’s auto lane change feature

Tesla in Europe had been having less extensive autopilot versions because of the regulations. Now, German regulators are investigating the auto lane change feature as it may be considered illegal in Europe. Auto lane is one of those features included in the more extensive package of the Tesla autopilot program, which is an expensive version compared to regular driver-assist features.

Tesla faces scrutiny by German regulator over Autopilot
Image credits- Automotive News Europe

This new feature is drawing European regulators’ attention. The Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) told Bild am Sonntag, “The KBA has initiated an investigation into an electronic lane change function in the Tesla autopilot. This function, which the US automaker offers as an accessory in some of its models, may not be permitted in Europe,”

There are not many details about why the feature is illegal. The german road authority said that it is both in contact with Tesla and the Dutch vehicle registration authority RDW, which is in charge of the broader regulatory approval of Tesla vehicles in Europe. According to Bild, the KBA is also in contact with the Netherlands’ vehicle agency, which is responsible for approving Tesla cars in Europe. Increased regulatory scrutiny appears to be a risk to Tesla’s commercialization of automated-vehicle technology.


Last year around this time, Tesla showcasing its self-driving technology was claimed to be “misleading” by the German court. From then Tesla had to showcase its autopilot features as “driver assist”. Granted Tesla’s autopilot is still a level 2 autonomous feature. However, the automaker has been using the name “Full Self-Driving” technology in many other countries.

In Germany, the group claimed that Tesla has been misleading consumers by calling its level 2 assisted driving system “Autopilot” and claiming that “automatic driving on city streets” is coming later this year. These claims won in the court, as it is a matter of safety concern for the vehicle owners. Since the claim that “automatic driving on city streets is coming later this year” has been on Tesla’s website since 2019 and has yet to be released in Germany, it was actually hard for Tesla to defend the claim.

Dr. Andreas Ottofülling, an attorney for the Wettbewerbszentrale, who filed the case stated, “Since autopiloted and autonomous driving at level 5 is currently neither legally permissible nor technically possible for the vehicle in question, Tesla must also adhere to the rules of the game and must not make false advertising promises.”

It shows how the country is to the point, making sure every aspect of the autopilot is considered. However, there is no information on how automakers could proceed with the self-driving technology with the regulators’ scrutiny. Mercedes is one automaker which received approval from Germany’s regulators to operate level 3 autonomous features.