Consumer Reports joins voices against Tesla’s Autopilot image

Following the recent accidents possibly linked to Tesla’s Autopilot system, the publication is calling on the company to disable the semi-autonomous tech until it is improved.

The US May 7 deadly accident, in which a driver lost his life while he was cruising in his Model S with the Autopilot engaged, triggered a serious debate among automotive safety experts on whether such technology can be trusted. In a report called “Tesla’s Autopilot: Too Much Autonomy Too Soon,” Consumer Reports also questions Tesla’s semi-autonomous feature, pointing fingers towards the electric carmaker for its marketing campaign over the system that “promoted a dangerously premature assumption that the Model S was capable of truly driving on its own.” The publication said that the automaker’s promotional catchphrases are dangerous, inflicting also confusion among drivers. “Your Autopilot has arrived”, Tesla said at the time of the launch, promising to relieve drivers of “the most tedious and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel,” while also warning that the driver was “still responsible for, and ultimately in control of, the car.”

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

Therefore, the magazine urged Tesla to 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 and to test all safety-critical systems fully before public deployment; no more beta releases.

Via Consumer Reports