In light of the recent accidents involving Tesla vehicles under Autopilot control, Consumer Reports has urged Tesla to disable the smart cruise-control feature. However, Tesla doesn’t care that much about the warnings coming from this reputable consumer rights group.

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“By marketing their feature as ‘Autopilot,’ Tesla gives consumers a false sense of security,” Consumer Reports vice president of consumer policy and mobilization Laura MacCleery said.

“In the long run, advanced active safety technologies in vehicles could make our roads safer. But today, we’re deeply concerned that consumers are being sold a pile of promises about unproven technology. ‘Autopilot’ can’t actually drive the car, yet it allows consumers to have their hands off the steering wheel for minutes at a time. Tesla should disable automatic steering in its cars until it updates the program to verify that the driver’s hands are on the wheel.”

“Consumers should never be guinea pigs for vehicle safety ‘beta’ programs,” she added. “At the same time, regulators urgently need to step up their oversight of cars with these active safety features. NHTSA should insist on expert, independent third-party testing and certification for these features, and issue mandatory safety standards to ensure that they operate safely.”

Consumer Reports called for Tesla to do four things:

  • Disable Autosteer until it can be reprogrammed to require drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel
  • Stop referring to the system as “Autopilot” as it is misleading and potentially dangerous
  • Issue clearer guidance to owners on how the system should be used and its limitations
  • Test all safety-critical systems fully before public deployment; no more beta releases

However, Tesla responded saying that it basically won’t take into account such worries at this time.

“Tesla is constantly introducing enhancements, proven over millions of miles of internal testing, to ensure that drivers supported by Autopilot remain safer than those operating without assistance,” the answer reads. “We will continue to develop, validate, and release those enhancements as the technology grows. While we appreciate well-meaning advice from any individual or group, we make our decisions on the basis of real-world data, not speculation by media.”

Consumer Reports’ full piece is available at the source link.

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