Israel’s Ministry of Transport and Road Safety is worlds ahead of the NHTSA and NTSB in the United States.
The Israeli organization has decided to "ground" Tesla's Autopilot feature and has told Tesla that it must notify the country's customers that they are not allowed to use the car's autonomous capabilities, according to Israeli publication CTech.
The autonomous driving system was first launched in 2013 and, while only offering limited capabilities, was sold to the world in a presentation where Elon Musk alluded to being able to sleep or watch a movie while driving. Musk has also demonstrated the feature while not abiding by the company's own rule of needing to maintain the driver's hands on the steering wheel.
This has led to a litany of accidents over the last several years, many of which we have documented on this site, involving Autopilot.
But the ban in Israel looks to be part of a wider rule application. "Since autonomous driving has not been approved in Israel, the ministry asked the company to make sure its customers are aware of the limitation," Calcalist reported.
Tesla has reportedly received a license to import just 20 cars to Israel in 2020, according to The Jewish Press. The restriction is due to the company not meeting all local bureaucratic licensing criteria, the most important of which is maintaining a local repair center (who would have thought?).
While the ban may be part of a wider application, perhaps the NHTSA could learn some "ground-up" common sense from Israel’s Ministry of Transport and Road Safety regardless. If it hasn't been tested and has been sold as something as it isn't - why let American citizens beta test these features on open roads full of innocent people?
And further, how can you stand idly by and ignore the fatal accidents that continue to occur?