Last week we reported that a Tesla operating in Autopilot mode hit a stopped car on a Beijing highway. The owner had several complaints about Tesla advertising the car as "self-driving" in China. Now, Reuters reports Tesla has removed all terminology from the Chinese website referencing Autopilot or self-driving. The company added a term that more closely translates to "self-assisted driving."

A Tesla spokesperson told Reuters that this change is simply part of the company's ongoing work in improving translations and is unrelated to the recent accident. Though this could certainly be true, the change coincides surprisingly well with the crash's publicity. Reuters also heard from a Tesla employee that the company did respond directly to the crash by retraining staff to inform drivers that they must keep their hands on the wheel. Such retraining would address complaints about how sales staff portrayed the feature. Reuters reported last week that the crash victim, who did not have his hands on the wheel at the time of the crash, and other Chinese Tesla owners said salespeople sold Autopilot as a fully autonomous system.

The good news for Tesla is that it seems China will likely be on the company's side as far as responsibility is concerned. An official for China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology told Forbes that drivers who end up in crashes with Autopilot-enabled Teslas or other semi-autonomous vehicles will probably be the ones liable, rather than the companies. Still, it's wise for Tesla to make their cars capabilities as clear as possible, even if the company is unlikely to face legal recourse.

This also raises the question of whether Tesla will consider rephrasing the system in other countries. Even in the United States, Consumer Reports called for the feature to be renamed to reflect that it can't operate fully autonomously. The organization's call to action came following a couple of Autopilot-related crashes, one of which was fatal.

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Tesla Autopilot Involved In Fatal Crash | Autoblog Minute

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