| FRANKFURT, Sept 16
FRANKFURT, Sept 16 Mobileye NV said in
a U.S. securities filing on Friday that its top executives were
assured by Tesla Motors Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk
that drivers of the company's electric cars would not be allowed
to take their hands off the wheel when using the "Autopilot"
driving assistance system, but Tesla later allowed hands-free
driving over Mobileye's objections.
Mobileye said that in product-planning communications
between the top executives of Mobileye and Tesla going back to
May 2015, the supplier expressed safety concerns regarding
Tesla's plans to allow drivers to remove their hands from the
wheel while driving.
"It has long been Mobileye's position that Tesla's Autopilot
should not be allowed to operate hands-free without proper and
substantial technological restrictions and limitations,"
Mobileye said in its filing, which it said was made in response
Mobileye, an Israeli company that is a leader in vision
systems for vehicles, further alleged in its filing that Musk
promised in a subsequent face-to-face meeting with Mobileye
Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Amnon Shashua that its
Autopilot system would require drivers to keep their hands on
However, Tesla later backed off this pledge, Mobileye said
in its filing with the U.S. Securities Commission, launching
hands-free activation features late last year.
A Tesla spokeswoman said on Thursday that Mobileye
collaborated with Tesla to develop Autopilot over the past three
years. The Silicon Valley electric luxury car maker did not have
an immediate reply after Mobileye's statement was filed on
Reuters could not independently verify the details in the
filing, including that the top-level executive exchanges that
Mobileye referred to took place.
Mobileye declined to supply specific evidence beyond what it
disclosed in its regulatory filing. It said it had commented
fully on the breakdown in its ties with Tesla and would provide
no further comment.
Tesla said in a statement on Thursday that relations broke
down with Mobileye over Tesla's plans to develop its own,
competing vision system to help drivers avoid collisions. (reut.rs/2ctM5CG)
Tesla has said that drivers received warnings from their
vehicles to keep their hands on the wheel while operating on
On Sunday, Tesla said it would update Autopilot to make it
more difficult for drivers to ignore warnings to keep hands on
the wheel. Those changes and others, Musk said,
would probably have prevented the death in May of a Model S
driver using Autopilot, which thrust the technology into the
Musk also said the revised system will allow a driver's
hands to be off the wheel for up to three minutes while
following a car at highway speeds.
The statements in the filing by Mobileye intensified a
dispute with Tesla over what led to an acrimonious and unusually
public rupture between Mobileye and Tesla. Mobileye's chairman
told Reuters on Wednesday the company broke ties with Tesla
because it was "pushing the envelope in terms of safety" with
(Additional reporting by Tova Cohen in Tel Aviv; editing by