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  • Kyle Chua

Malaysian Police Launch Investigation Against Singaporean Couple’s Use of Tesla’s Autopilot Function

A Singaporean couple went viral on TikTok after recording themselves driving from Singapore to Penang using their Tesla Model 3’s autopilot mode, attracting the attention of Malaysia’s law enforcement.

Credit: Tesla

The authorities announced they have banned drivers from using Tesla’s autopilot function and are launching an investigation against the couple, as The Independent (via Malaysia’s Guang Ming Daily) reports.


“Malaysia currently has no rules or laws against automated driving systems, but these systems do not help drivers keep their full attention on driving – the system can’t even be sure if there is a driver sitting in the vehicle,” said Superintendent Bakri Zainal Abidin, Bukit Aman Traffic Investigations and Enforcement Chief Assistant Director.


He notes how drivers aren’t allowed to operate their vehicles without their hands placed on the steering wheel at all times. This can lead to them to become inattentive and insensitive to road conditions, which can result in an accident or other safety concerns, citing a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He adds that those using the autopilot function are more likely to check their phones or be distracted while driving.

The Malaysian Police are invoking the Land Transport Act 1987 to investigate the couple, who reportedly drove about 700 kilometres hands-free.


The couple in a video defended their actions, explaining that they did keep their hands on the wheel throughout the drive and only let go when they wanted to demonstrate the autopilot function. Tesla’s manual, however, says that drivers must always have their hands on the wheel.


The TikTok users also managed to go beyond the maximum range of their vehicle, which is only 380km, after supposedly completing the 700km drive to Penang.

The authorities said that the ban doesn’t only apply to Tesla, but all vehicles that have automated and advanced programming functions, emphasising how drivers must always remain in full control.

 
  • A Singaporean couple went viral on TikTok after recording themselves driving from Singapore to Penang using their Tesla Model 3’s autopilot mode, attracting the attention of Malaysia’s law enforcement.

  • Malaysian authorities have banned drivers from using the autopilot function in the road and are launching an investigation on the couple.

  • The couple defended their actions, explaining how they only let go of the wheel to demonstrate the autopilot function for their TikTok followers.


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