Tesla tells owners they must keep their hands on the wheel at all times when using Autopilot, the automaker’s semi-autonomous driver-assistance feature. But Tesla CEO Elon Musk took his hands off the wheel after activating Autopilot in a Model 3 sedan during a “60 Minutes” interview that aired on Sunday.
The Model 3 owner’s manual describes Autopilot’s ability to control a vehicle’s speed and steering under some circumstances “a hands-on feature” and instructs owners to keep their hands on the wheel when using it.
“You must keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times,” the manual says.
During the “60 Minutes” interview, Musk removed his hands from the steering wheel after activating Autopilot and did not appear to hold the wheel with either of his hands for the rest of the segment.
Musk also used Autopilot without his hands on the wheel during an interview with “CBS This Morning” that aired in April.
Tesla did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Tesla has received criticism for how it has promoted Autopilot, and fatal accidents involving the feature have raised questions about whether drivers place too much trust in it and fail to pay attention to the road. Tesla says Autopilot is meant to be used with an attentive driver whose hands are on the wheel, but the most visible accidents involving Autopilot have involved reports of distracted drivers.
Tesla has pointed to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that indicate Autopilot reduces the likelihood of a vehicle being in an accident, but the NHTSA told Ars Technica in May that a study Tesla has cited did not necessarily prove that Autopilot reduced accident rates.
In October, Consumer Reports released its rankings of four semi-autonomous driver-assistance systems. Autopilot ranked second, behind Cadillac’s Super Cruise, with the highest rating among the four for capability and performance and ease of use, but the lowest for keeping drivers engaged.