Hong Kong Transport Department Pulls The Plug On Tesla Version 7 With Autopilot Feature

NOV 2 2015 BY ALEX WAI 28

After less than one week of the official release of version 7 update in Asia, the Hong Kong Transport Department has officially issued a press release and a warning letter to the vehicle manufacturer.

Auto-Pilot button selection after version 7 update

Autopilot button selection after version 7 update

The letter requested the manufacturer to remove the update and take follow up action to the owners who have already updated the software roll back to the version without this new autopilot feature. Seems Elon’s tweet might need to add Hong Kong  back in the exception list along with Japan for the approved update release.

“In connection with the recent launch of the system function update of Tesla electric vehicle, the TD has issued a warning letter to remind the vehicle manufacturer that it can only update the system of in-use vehicles after the TD has approved its application for the changes……”

Click here to view full press release

This is the second time Tesla Hong Kong has been requested to remove feature that is not approved by regulatory authority or against the existing laws since the launch of Model S in July 2014. Tesla has been requested to remove the web browser feature for all vehicles sold in city shortly after the first batch of Model S has been delivered.

Apparently, the law regulating the web browser use does not differentiate a moving vehicle from a stationary vehicle in P gear. So unlike Australia, it is illegal in Hong Kong to use the browser to surf for information (except for certain information such as weather or map directions) either when the car is moving or stationary.

Tesla Hong Kong response so far….

Driver safety is Tesla’s top priority. 

 Tesla’s Autopilot is designed to assist drivers by adding intelligent safety features. This is not autonomous driving. Functions, including Autosteer, are intended for highway use only and still require drivers to have their hands on the steering wheel and be in full control of the vehicle. We emphasize drivers maintain responsibility over the safety of the car when Autopilot features are enabled and must be fully aware of the surrounding road conditions. The Tesla 7.0 Software update is a functional update; it is not a physical change in design of the vehicle. Tesla is currently working with the relevant authorities to ensure a proper understanding of this new update.

Model S owner claims to see another update alert after the Transport Dept press release. Not confirmation if this is a roll back update.

Model S owner claims to see another update alert after the Transport Dept press release. No confirmation if this is a roll back update.

No further comments from Tesla Hong Kong so far about if the update has been removed or owners with new update are requested to roll back to earlier version.

Unconfirmed reports that there are less than 100 out of 2000+ Model S updated to version 7 in the city. But some owners have been alerted with another update after the press release from the Transport Department that takes 1hr40mins to complete which is quite similar to the time it takes the version 7 to complete. It is unsure or no confirmation yet by any owners if this is actually a roll back update.

We hope to learn more from Tesla Hong Kong soon that any approval process required by local law for vehicle current or future updates either in software or hardware can be done more smoothly and quickly so drivers can enjoy these new features in the most safe way. We also encourage local regulatory authorities in the city to improve communication with manufacturers by providing clear guidance and laws that will help the much technology dependent industry to grow. The public has often raised the urgent needs to review and update some of the laws in Hong Kong to match with the technology advancement in the current century.

Categories: Tesla


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28 Comments on "Hong Kong Transport Department Pulls The Plug On Tesla Version 7 With Autopilot Feature"

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Uhhh…sure, I’ll install this new ‘update’ …. tomorrow.

Ugh! How will Tesla ensure that no one in HongKong has the autopilot feature? Could be damaging if some accident happens while autopilot is on.

Region code. 😛

Hong Kong, the bastion of free enterprise where you can open a business in matter of hours, compared to months in some parts of US, is restricting this? And you can’t browse in car when in “P”? Obviously, TD has too much money, not much to do. Hong Kong residents need to have their taxes reduced; was 15% almost flat, should go to 10%!

Maybe they want people to get out of the car and poke the screen with a stick while they try and find a close place to eat? That is a ridiculous rule.

Do they restrict browsing on a phone when not in ‘P’?

Way more dangerous that using the car’s screen. Especially the co-pilot.

Do they restrict other versions of cruise control?

“AutoPilot” is just an enhanced cruise control. Nothing more.

Oh look, SparkEV goes nutty again.

I’ve motored through parts of Asia. It is not the snoozefest that the US (and to some extent Canada) is. Lanes are fluid, not sacred, and the ubiquitous scooters and motorcycles filter smoothly around the cages- very Buddhist. An “autopilot whatever” based only on lane assist would then be next to useless.

By comparison, the average Yank Tank occupant might have an aneurysm trying to cope in most Asian cities. That’s aneurysm, not accident, as I imagine they would default to creeping by at a few mph under the sensory assault. Meanwhile everyone else would keep flowing around you as usual. Heck, most Americans can’t even handle stick.

I agree that there is a vast difference in the
way people in Asia interact with each other on a daily basis. Mellow or interconnected, and certainly less egocentric than the West.
More of a calm acceptance of things just as they are.

So what you’re saying is that government is some know-it-all-deity while Tesla drivers are bunch of morons that’ll use autopilot feature to cause crash? Even worse, browsing the web in car when it’s in “P” is going to kill people, so they ban it, too? Great idea! Now let’s all pray to our dear lord the DT.

By the way, I resent being called “nutty again”. I’m always nutty; why else would I drive an EV, especially one so-called “compliance car”?

you can open a business in minnesota in less than hour.. not sure where you got your stats.

Try opening a lemonade stand in NY. Or try to have 1 employee in CA. I gave up.

I think small business in the U.S. gets treated like the the red-headed step child of American commerce. They don’t have the money or the moxie, read legions of tax lawyers, to fight all the local, county, state, and federal taxes and regulations. So they get screwed, bottom line.
Owning and running a small business is a thankless and difficult job.

Opening a lemonade stand in NYC takes a minimum of 65 days if you follow all the laws and regulations. Sigh.



Fox news / Daily Mail says so. It must be true. 😀


Government at it again. No you cannot add safety improvements to your own vehicle. Why? Because, safety.

Browsing the internet while trying to drive is dangerous and stupid. Hong Kong and Australia got it right on that one. Don’t text and drive comes to mind.

Sorry, but autopilot just doesn’t do much for me. I can’t help but keep thinking of that “blue screen of death”.

I just bought a brand new desktop with factory installed Win 8.1. The operating system has not worked right and has been a pain in the ass from day one. So much for “software driving our cars for us”. Nothing is foolproof.

Hong Kong has been a good place to do business in the past. In an article on the best places to do business, Singapore was rated No. 1 followed up by Hong Kong. Surprisingly, I think Australia actually came in ahead of the U.S. at number six or so while the U.S. was rated 11th. Japan, Inc. was rated 26th in ease of doing business.

Linux doesn’t do blue-screens. And Tesla’s run Linux. Don’t let your fears prevent you from using good tech.

Although we occasionally see a “Kernel Panic”, but even that is a rarity.

Web browsing in “P” is banned in Hong Kong, unlike Aus. You can’t drive in “P”.

“Apparently, the law regulating the web browser use does not differentiate a moving vehicle from a stationary vehicle in P gear. So unlike Australia,…”

That also means you can’t have google maps while driving nor any of the GPS+web based charger finding? My god, people will kill themselves if we let them use the radio!

I’ve always wondered if a Tesla owner could decline an update. Looking at the software update screen, it looks like “no” is not an option.

“Hong Kong Transport Department PULLS THE PLUG On Tesla Version 7 With Autopilot Feature”

LOL! Great pun Jay. 😀


“The public has often raised the urgent needs to review and update some of the laws in Hong Kong to match with the technology advancement in the current century.

bring it to hong hong when it is truly autonomous.

try to explain to the mother in law that her auto-pilot car can not drive itself on Sunday, not easy, since her human driver can drive the car for the other 6 days of the week.

there is good reason to retract auto-pilot from hk.

In all fairness, of all places, I can TOTALLY understand why Hong Kong is doing this. Have you ever DRIVEN there? I haven’t, but I wouldn’t want to. I’ve been. It’s awful. I would never trust an autopilot software in Hong Kong traffic.

If this is what the HK DOT is like then I would hate to mess with their Parks and Rec Dpt!

Some Hong Kong drivers need the auto parking feature.