A system and method for remotely controlling an autonomous vehicle uses a tele-panel to interrupt autonomous operation. Radio communications established between the tele-panel and the vehicle ceases autonomous operation of the vehicle and places the vehicle in a tele-ready mode in which the vehicle will not respond to commands from other tele-panels. Upon communication of a tele-operation request signal to the vehicle, the vehicle enters tele-operation mode. In this mode, the vehicle is responsive only to speed and steering angle requests from the transmitting tele-panel. A unique tele-panel identifier transmitted to the vehicle prevents other tele-panels from gaining control of the vehicle. If communications between the vehicle and the tele-panel identified by the tele-panel identifier are interrupted while the vehicle is in tele-operation mode, the vehicle is locked and will not respond to commands from other tele-panels and will not enter autonomous operation. If communications between the vehicle and the tele-panel identified by the tele-panel identifier are interrupted while the vehicle is in the tele-ready mode, autonomous operation or control by other tele-panels is not prevented.