According to a report by Reuters this morning, Tesla—which has come under fire for a series of high-profile crashes involving its autopilot feature, most recently in Beijing—has replaced the word “autopilot” on its Chinese website with the term “zidong jiashi,” which translates closer to “self-assisted driving.”
Earlier in August, a Beijing man crashed into a parked vehicle while using autopilot, and, according to Tesla, didn’t have his hands on the wheels at the time of the crash. In response, Tesla’s China staff has reportedly beefed up training of its “product specialists” to remind them to keep both hands on the wheel when demonstrating the increasingly scrutinized autopilot function to prospective customers.
It seems likely that similar training will commence (or has already) at Tesla’s U.S. retail locations, which I wrote about recently. As I described in the story, I test-drove the Tesla Model S on autopilot, and briefly, with no hands. Only after a minute or two did my product specialist remind me to put both hands on the wheel.JJM