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China’s Tesla autopilot crash caused by the words “zidong jiashi”

Another controversy for Tesla’s autopilot - another crash was reported in China. The accident is the first recorded in China and occurred months after a terrible crash in Florida. These events have added pressure on regulators and auto industry executives to tighten up regulations on autopilot technologies.

Lou Zhen, a 33-year-old programmer at a tech firm was driving to work in Beijing and prompted the autopilot function as he usually does on highways. The car then approached a car parked half on the road and hit it on the side. The accident scraped both cars and tore off the parked car’s mirror. There was no one injured.  Lou filmed everything with his dashboard camera.

Tesla, which is investigating the accident, has responded on the situation by stating that it is the driver’s responsibility to maintain control of the vehicle. Lou had stated that the sales person sold the function as “self-driving” (or “zidong jiashi” as the China website promotes the Model S) and, according to him, overplayed its true capabilities.

"As clearly communicated to the driver in the vehicle, auto-steer is an assist feature that requires the driver to keep his hands on the steering wheel at all times to always maintain control and responsibility for the vehicle, and to be prepared to take over at any time," a Tesla spokeswoman said to Reuters.

But Lou insists on blaming the sales staff for promoting the car as completely self-driven and misleading him as a customer. "The impression they give everyone is that this is self-driving, this isn't assisted driving," he said.  Zhen indicated that he had been using the autopilot function for a month.

"They use this immature technology as a sales and promotion tactic ... but they don't take responsibility for the safety of the function," Zhen told reporters from Reuters.