Tesla Autopilot Shut Down in Hong Kong

Tesla reportedly didn’t apply for regulatory approval of its Autopilot semi-self-driving system in Hong Kong.

Photo Caption: Tesla Autopilot has temporarily been disabled in Hong Kong.

Tesla Model S owners in Hong Kong recently woke up to find the Autopilot semi-self-driving system had suddenly been disabled.

According to the International Business Times, Hong Kong officials told Tesla to remove Autopilot until authorities can confirm the features are safe. A report from Quartz says Hong Kong’s transportation authorities have declared parts it illegal but because Tesla didn’t go through the proper regulatory process to get it approved.

Here’s what Tesla had to say about the situation in Hong Kong: “The autosteer and auto lane change functions in our recent 7.0 software update are still pending approval from Hong Kong’s Transport Department. To ensure we comply with the country’s regulators, we will be temporarily turning off these two functions on all Model S in Hong Kong effective immediately.”

A Tesla spokesperson told the South China Morning Post this week that the company technically didn’t apply for regulatory approval of Autopilot in Hong Kong, which has traffic laws identical to Europe.

Tesla Autopilot was released in beta mode in October 2015, but CEO Elon Musk recently said additional constraints will be added due to “some fairly crazy videos” on YouTube of drivers doing dumb things when their Tesla Model S sedans were in Autopilot mode.

The idea is to “minimize the possibility of people doing crazy things.” Musk and company have insisted Autopilot is not a self-driving system and that drivers should always keep their hands on the wheels. However, some drivers haven’t been able to resist the temptation of removing their hands from the wheels, and that has led to some crazy videos of Autopilot making some wrong decisions.

“This is not good,” Musk says of the YouTube videos. “We will be putting some additional constraints on when Autopilot can be activated to minimize the possibility of people doing crazy things.”

Musk didn’t detail what the additional constraints would be, but most semi-self-driving features will disengage if you remove your hands from the wheel. Autopilot has also prevented accidents, and Musk says the early data is very positive overall.

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
Contact Steve Crowe: scrowe@ehpub.com  ·  View More by Steve Crowe.


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