PDRM Bans Hands-free Autopilot Systems In Malaysia

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PDRM Bans Hands-free Autopilot Systems In Malaysia

Autopilot systems or self-driving systems are now banned in Malaysia as per PDRM. 

Ever since the Singaporean and Malaysian borders opened on April 1, various stories have spread on social media sites about Singaporeans traveling to Malaysia.

They have been seen carrying out extraordinary acts, not limited to dangerous driving, subsidised petrol stealing, and using Tesla's hands-free automatic driving assistance system.

Singaporean Tesla owner in Malaysia

Tesla Autopilot

A Singaporean driver shared his experience of driving his Tesla Model 3 to Penang, where he apparently used Tesla's automatic driving assistance system for most of the journey up north.

What was surely an innocent move to show off the ability of his Tesla is now getting some attention from Polis DiRaja Malaysia (PDRM), as nobody is apparently allowed to use a self-driving system like the one in the Tesla in Malaysia - at least for now. 

Road Laws in Malaysia

According to a report made by Guang Ming Daily, Bukit Aman Chief Assistant Director of Traffic Investigation and Enforcement (JSPT) Superintendent Dr Bakri Zainal Abidin has issued a statement that drivers are prohibited from using such Autopilot systems in Malaysia. In fact, his team has opened an investigation on the matter.

Dr Bakri Zainal Abidin

He explained that although Malaysia does not have any regulations related to automatic driving assistance systems, drivers in Malaysia are supposed to drive according to the Land Traffic Act 1959, which says that drivers must drive well, be careful and concentrate on the road ahead.

"The autopilot feature in Tesla cars is helpful to drivers, but it doesn’t mean that drivers can completely take their hands off the steering wheel and mistakenly think that the system can automatically and safely control the car,” Bakri said.

What the Tesla driver did was allow the Autopilot system to control the driving of his vehicle, and this is an offence and a violation of the ordinance because the driver should always control the movement of the steering wheel.

Tesla crash, California 2019

"Even as a country conducting research and development related to this automated driving assistance system, the United States still imposes a ban on its use in most of its states, and the latest research report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) shows that the use of this automatic driving assistance function can cause drivers to be negligent and insensitive to road conditions, ”he added.

One of the examples that are used to show the problem with wholly trusting the Autopilot system can be referenced back to an accident in California in 2019. The driver of a Tesla utilised the Autopilot function and ran a red light and slammed into another car.

The driver was charged with two counts of manslaughter in January 2022 as two people died. 



Adam Aubrey

Adam Aubrey

Content Producer

Wants to live the simple life, especially when it comes to cars and bikes. That's what tech is for he reckons, to make motoring simpler

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