Nio is enveloped in a public relations nightmare after Chinese traffic authorities last month disclosed the first known fatality involving one of the company’s vehicles using its partially automated driving system. 

Called Nio Pilot, the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) has been a major selling point for the maker of luxury electric vehicles (EVs). Now it stands accused of overselling the capabilities of the technology. There could be more consequences to come as Nio is in advanced plans to enter the competitive mass auto market.

The Aug.12 crash of the Nio ES8, resulting in the death of the 31-year-old driver, has also had repercussions throughout the autonomous vehicle industry, with many fearing the prospect of tougher regulation and the loss of public confidence. Xpeng Motors and Li Auto last month quickly dropped the terms “autonomous” and “advanced” in describing their ADAS systems, respectively. 

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Jill Shen

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com or Twitter: @yushan_shen