The Tesla Model S sedan’s recent (and controversial) autopilot mode has hit a major roadblock abroad. The electric car company has turned off semi-autonomous functionality for Model S sedans in Hong Kong, with International Business News reporting that the city’s Transportation Department “demanded” Tesla do so. Both the Autosteer and Auto Lane Change functions have been disabled.
These features both came to Model S sedans last month via over-the-air update, which allowed Tesla to circumvent any sort of regulatory process. This kind of semi-autonomy—maybe even more so than outright self-driving tech—falls in a safety and liability grey area. Tesla’s official line on Autosteer and Auto Lane Change is that drivers should still keep their hands on the wheel at all times. After videos of Model S owners misusing autopilot features surfaced, CEO Elon Musk stated that the company “will be putting some additional constraints on when Autopilot can be activated to minimize the possibility of people doing crazy things with it."
No follow-up word from Musk about what kinds of constraints Tesla is considering, nor when they’ll arrive. Looks like the city of Hong Kong isn’t waiting to find out.