GM leaders say Tesla’s driver-assist branding confuses consumers

By BLOOMBERG | 17 March 2023

DETROIT: The head of General Motors Co.’s self-driving business criticised automakers such as Tesla Inc. for giving names to driver-assist features that could mislead users about their capabilities.

Kyle Vogt, chief executive officer of Cruise, said the issue is making people nervous about true driverless cars.

Speaking Tuesday in a fireside chat alongside GM CEO Mary Barra, Vogt pointed to the system that Tesla calls Full Self-Driving, but which requires users to remain attentive and keep their hands on the wheel.

"You have companies selling products like Full Self-Driving, which sounds to me like when I’m behind the wheel, I don’t have to drive,” Vogt said in the presentation at South by Southwest.

"If we’re calling that self-driving we’re misleading consumers.”

Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The confusion is making consumers leery of driverless cars, said Vogt, whose company specialises in autonomous cars with no human in the driver seat.

He referred to a survey released this month by AAA that said 68% of Americans fear self-driving, up from 55% last year.

AAA also found that 22% of respondents expect driver-support systems - with names like autopilot, ProPilot or Pilot Assist - to be able to drive by themselves without supervision.

Barra said consumers need clear explanation about a vehicle’s capabilities.

"There is a very bright line,” she said.

"If I get in a vehicle, am I responsible for what happens or am I not? If someone gets in a vehicle and is confused about who is responsible, that’s a problem.”