Following a software update to Tesla’s autopilot system, Consumer Reports has stated that the new update could create a “potential safety risk for drivers.” Despite Musk’s promise of a fleet of Tesla robotaxis, according to Consumer Reports, autopilots “lagged far behind a human driver’s skill set.”
According to a recently released report from Consumer Reports, Tesla’s latest update to its autopilot system which allows certain vehicles to automatically change lanes may actually create a safety risk for drivers. Consumer Reports claims that the new feature “doesn’t work very well” and could endanger drivers.
The newly released report from Consumer Reports states:
Tesla added the update to its Navigate on Autopilot feature last month as part of a promised upgrade to its package of driver assist features. To use it, a driver must first turn it on, essentially giving the car permission to make its own lane changes. A driver can cancel an automated lane change that’s in progress at any time by using the turn-signal stalk, braking, or holding the steering wheel in place.
In practice, we found that Navigate on Autopilot lagged far behind a human driver’s skill set: The feature cut off cars without leaving enough space and even passed other cars in ways that violate state laws, according to several law enforcement representatives CR interviewed for this report. As a result, the driver often had to prevent the system from making poor decisions.
Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ senior director of auto testing, commented on the feature stating: “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.”
Consumer Reports adds: “Despite Tesla’s promises that it will have full self-driving technology by the end of next year, our experience with Navigate on Autopilot suggests it will take longer. In addition, experts tell CR that the automatic lane-change feature demonstrates the technological limits of Tesla’s current hardware.
Consumer Reports stated in February that it could no longer suggest that consumers purchase the Tesla Model 3 due to a number of issues. Fisher commented on the Model 3’s issues stating: “When we look at the Model 3 lot of the issues are the electronics. There are some issues replacing the (navigation/infotainment) screens, for instance, but we’ve seen other issues in terms of the trim breaking and the glass.” The electronics in an electric car being faulty is obviously not ideal, this resulted in the company’s stock price trading down by nearly two percent following the release of the report.