Malaysian police bans hands-free driving, including Autopilot

Malaysian police are banning the use of hands-free autonomous driving, including Autopilot in the country.

The ban comes as several viral TikTok videos hit the web that showed a Singapore couple road tripping in the country and using Tesla’s Autopilot system.

According to the couple, they made most of the trip with hands-on the steering wheel.

However, they did take their hands off for the videos to show off the technology.

According to the Guang Ming Daily reporting, the Malaysian police believe that the use of automated driving functions can lead to drivers being inattentive to traffic and road conditions.

The Bukit Aman Police Chief Assistant Director Superintendent Dr Bakri Zainal Abidin had this to say on the matter

“When driving, the focus must be on the road, as traffic flow and road user attitudes mean that a human operator is still required to operate and drive the vehicle.” 

Dr Abidin noted that the Singaporean couple’s actions were illegal in Malaysia. He also said that the police are opening up an investigation over their actions.

There are currently no vehicles in Singapore or Malaysia that allow hands-free driving. Several cars have level 2 autonomy.

However, those vehicles still require the user to pay attention to the road.

The ban is not entirely a surprise. Under Malaysian Road Traffic Rule 1959, drivers must maintain a good attitude, caution, and concentration.

Essentially, the Malaysian police are equaling driving with Autopilot without due care and attention the same as distracted driving.

However, there is no word on if the Singapore couple will face any other consequences for their viral videos.

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