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Jay Leno: Tesla's autopilot is the future, but calling cars 'driverless' is a misnomer

Self-driving cars are without a doubt the future on the roadways, but that does not mean human drivers can abandon all responsibility, car enthusiast Jay Leno said Tuesday.

Leno, host of CNBC's "Jay Leno's Garage," said he sees the autopilot feature on his Tesla as an additional safety measure rather than something that allows drivers to stop paying attention.

"First, you had anti-lock brakes, then you had lane departure warning lights," Leno told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "It's just another thing to protect you, that's all."

The comedian and former host of "The Tonight Show" on NBC also warned those inclined to rely too heavily on the feature: "You always have to be in control. You can't jump in the back seat with a bottle of scotch, you know."

Leno contended the term "driverless" is perhaps the wrong way to describe vehicles with Tesla-type autopilot features. He said a better phrase may be "driver assist," which would highlight the responsibility that remains with the driver to ensure maximum safety.


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— All-new episodes of "Jay Leno's Garage"start on Nov. 9 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC.