Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has initiated an investigation on American electric vehicle maker Tesla and its driver-assist system. The investigation centers around Tesla’s Automatic Lane Change feature, which is available as part of the company’s Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving suite.
Citing a spokesperson from the KBA, German news outlet Bild am Sonntag noted on Sunday that Germany’s federal motor vehicle office is also in contact with the RDW, the Netherlands Vehicle Authority, about the issue. The KBA spokesperson noted that Tesla’s automatic lane change feature “may not be permitted in Europe.”
Automatic Lane Change is one of Tesla’s more advanced driver-assist functions. Offered as part of Enhanced Autopilot and the Full Self-Driving suite, Auto Lane Change positions vehicles in optimal lanes to prepare for merges and exits. The feature also allows the company’s vehicles to overtake slow cars safely. Despite the advanced nature of the system, however, Tesla notes that drivers are always “given clear insight to upcoming lane changes” from their vehicle.
So far, Tesla is yet to issue a comment about Germany’s investigation into Auto Lane Change.
Tesla’s driver-assist systems have been the focus of scrutiny as of late, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently investigating the company’s driver-assist systems over complaints of “phantom braking” from drivers. This comes amid several recalls that have been rolled out towards Tesla, despite the fact that a significant number of the recalls could be addressed through a simple over-the-air software update.
This is not the first time that Germany set its sights on Tesla’s driver-assist system. Back in 2020, Germany’s Competition Center, which is widely considered as the country’s largest and most influential national and cross-border self-regulatory institution to enforce the law against unfair competition, alleged that Tesla’s decision to list its vehicles with “Autopilot included” was “misleading advertising.” The group also accused Tesla of selling its vehicles with the promise that they are already capable of “automatic driving in town.”
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