Mercedes pulls E-class commercial over misleading 'self-driving' claims

It looks like the growing concerns over car makers' claims of autonomous driving features, such as the recent issue of Tesla and its use of the word "Autopilot," are starting to be felt by Mercedes-Benz. The company has discontinued a TV commercial for the new 2017 E-class sedan following criticism that the ad could mislead people into thinking it's fully autonomous.

The commercial, which can be seen below, features a voiceover that asks "Is the world truly ready for a vehicle that can drive itself?" immediately followed by "Ready or not, the future is here." Plus, the E-class is seen driving alongside Mercedes' futuristic F015 concept, a car with autonomous driving features.

As exciting as it looks, the E-class sedan is far from being an autonomous car. What it offers are driver assist features, such as "Drive Pilot," which helps to keep the car within its lane and maintain distance between other vehicles. While the feature requires drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel, the advertisement showed the driver taking both hands off the wheel while the car was moving.

Automotive News reports that Consumer Reports and the Center for Automotive Safety were among those to speak out against the ad, even asking the FTC to investigate. Mercedes went ahead and removed the commercial from their YouTube page and stopped it from being broadcast on TV.

A Mercedes spokesperson said they decided to pull the ad over concerns that "consumers could confuse the autonomous driving capability of the F015 concept car with the driver assistance systems of our new E-class." They continued:

"The new 2017 E-class is a technological tour de force and is a significant step towards achieving our vision of an accident-free future. We do not want any potential confusion in the marketplace to detract from the giant step forward in vehicle safety the 2017 E-class represents."

SOURCE Automotive News