Consumer Reports has slammed Tesla’s Autopilot as being unsafe when changing lanes and behind the average capability of a human.
A recent Tesla update enabled certain models to automatically switch lanes, in what the manufacturer said is to make driving “more seamless”.
In testing, Consumer Reports found a range of dangerous problems. The feature had a tendency for cutting in without leaving enough space, and even breaking state laws in terms of passing other vehicles.
Jake Fisher, Senior Director of Auto Testing at Consumer Reports, said:
“The system’s role should be to help the driver, but the way this technology is deployed it’s the other way around.
It’s incredibly nearsighted. It doesn’t appear to react to brake lights or turn signals, it can’t anticipate what other drivers will do, and as a result, you constantly have to be one step ahead of it.”
The update arrived last month as part of a package improving Tesla’s driver assist features. Drivers must first enable the feature to give the car permission to make lane changes. A lane switch can be cancelled by holding the steering wheel, using the turn signal stalk, or braking.
David Friedman, VP of Advocacy at Consumer Reports, comments:
“The Navigate on Autopilot driver-assist feature overpromises and under-delivers, with lives on the line. Tesla is showing what not to do on the path toward self-driving cars: release increasingly automated driving systems that aren’t vetted properly.
Before selling these systems, automakers should be required to give the public validated evidence of that system’s safety—backed by rigorous simulations, track testing, and the use of safety drivers in real-world conditions.”
Tesla has long maintained that fully self-driving cars are just around the corner, but the findings of Consumer Reports suggests that’s not the case. Handling things such as junctions, roundabouts, and traffic lights will be even more complex than switching lanes on a highway.
Someone better tell a certain amorous couple.
You can view Consumer Reports’ complete findings here.
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