Press Release

The existing “Automated Driving” Functions Are Not Fully Automated!

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In May this year, the driver of a vehicle made by Tesla Motors (“Tesla”) was killed in an accident in the United States. The vehicle, which was being driven in so called “Autopilot” mode, crashed with a trailer coming from the side. The U.S. authority is now investigating the details of the accident.

Existing “Automated driving” functions, including Tesla’s “Autopilot” features, are “driving assistance technologies”. The driver is responsible for driving the vehicle safely; these functions are not fully automated and are not responsible for operating the vehicle safely when using the functions.

Therefore, the driver has to take responsibility for driving safely with a correct understanding of the limitations and cautions for such functions and without excessively relying on the functions.

In view of this recent accident, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) and the National Police Agency have decided to thoroughly alert users of vehicles with existing “automated driving” functions, provided by all manufactures. Today, the MLIT requested the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association and Japan Automobile Importers Association to explain such matters thoroughly to vehicle users when selling vehicles, etc.

If you have any questions about your vehicle or when purchasing a new vehicle with “Automated driving” functions, please ask your dealer, etc. about the functions of the driving assistance technologies used in the vehicle as well as the relevant cautions.

Reference: Tesla’s “Autopilot” feature

The “Autopilot” feature of Tesla vehicles is merely a function for lane keeping assistance, lane change assistance, automatic braking, etc. when using the features, the driver has to drive the vehicle safely by monitoring the front and surroundings of the vehicle in the same way as driving a normal vehicle.*

* The feature corresponds to Level 2 of the automated driving levels defined in “Public-Private ITS Initiative/Roadmaps 2016” (The Strategic Headquarters for the Promotion of an Advanced Information and Telecommunications Network Society, May 20, 2016).

In addition, depending on the weather, traffic or other conditions, etc., these functions may not work properly or may suddenly stop operating.

For these reasons, it is possibly extremely dangerous if the driver fails to pay attention while using the “Autopilot” feature. Furthermore, if an accident should occur, in principle the driver will be held responsible.

Attached Documents

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Contact Information

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Engineering Policy Division, Road Transport Bureau Kubota, Murai or Kubo
TEL +81-3-5253-8111 (Extension 42252, 42256) Direct Phone +81-3-5253-8592 FAX +81-3-5253-1639
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Type Approval and Recall Division, Road Transport Bureau Nagai or Tanaka
TEL +81-3-5253-8111 (Extension 42312, 42352) Direct Phone +81-3-5253-8595 FAX +81-3-5253-1640