Tesla ‘Autopilot’ Gets Lost In Translation On China Website, Man Crashes

PALO ALTO (CBS/AP) — Tesla says the term “Autopilot” was mistakenly removed from the electric car maker’s website for China and it will be restored. Recently, the word has gotten lost in translation prompting confusion, complaints and even accidents.

The feature controls braking and steering, but drivers are required to keep their hands on the wheel.

The company says it revised some language on the site to make it clearer to drivers that Autopilot is a driver-assist system and not a self-driving system. The Chinese website used the phrase “zidong jiashi” which means both “autopilot” but also means “self-driving.”

Last week, a driver in Beijing relying on Autopilot mode sideswiped a car parked on the side of the road. Tesla says the driver’s hands weren’t detected on the steering wheel during the crash. The company says drivers using Autopilot must keep their hands on the wheel and be ready to take over.

Tesla spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn issued a statement addressing the language challenge:

“At Tesla we are continuously making improvements, including to translations. We’ve been in the process of addressing any discrepancies across languages for many weeks. Timing had nothing to do with current events or articles.”

TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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