In the last few days, the Federal Motor Authority of Germany started sending letters to Tesla car owners warning them that "Autopilot" mechanism in their car is intended to assist them in their driving and not to replace the driver. These letters might be part of a regulatory move by authorities on the use of the term "autopilot" in Tesla cars, fearing that term might be misconstrued by people to mean self driving.
Tesla has maintained that cars with "autopilot" features will not convey passengers around without a driver. Furthermore, Tesla has made it clear that the word "autopilot" is a generic term used in the airline industry to refer to mechanisms that assist the plane pilot and not to replace him.
The company has always advised that people must constantly be aware of road conditions even their cars have autopilot features. The mechanism is, at present, just a tool to make driving easier.
Clearly, Tesla has plans to produce cars with self driving mode. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in 2015 that his aim was to produce such cars by 2018.
Realizing that not all people can keep up with such a fast-paced technology, Musk has since slowly backed down from his ambitious plan. An apparent misconception among Tesla car owners on the use of the autopilot feature proves this point.
However, it is obvious that the self-drive technology is nearing its ultimate goal of self driving. Tesla cars with "autopilot" mechanisms can keep cars steady on the proper lane in the highway, change lanes when the turn signal is on and parallel park on their own.
Tesla has made some changes on their software enabling the feature to automatically shut down of the when the driver does not constantly keep their hands on the wheel.
The Department of Motor Vehicles of California, anticipating the advent of "self-drive" technology, has also prohibited the use of " self-driving or autonomous" in car sales ads.