Tesla’s recent string of vehicle crashes while the Autopilot was reportedly engaged was more than enough to capture the attention of Consumer Reports. The nonprofit organization is calling on the electric car maker to disable its Autopilot feature. Moreover, it is saying that the system should not be called Autopilot in the first place.
Recently, there have been a series of vehicle crashes involving Tesla vehicles on Autopilot along roads and highways across the U.S. One of them led to the death of former Navy SEAL Joshua Brown who was impressed with Tesla’s technology.
Following this, Park Gallery owner Albert Scaglione also met an accident while driving his Tesla Model X. Another driver named Pang was also in a crash this month while speeding through a highway with the Autopilot engaged. Following the incidents, Tesla continuously issued statements appealing to car owners to keep their hands on the wheel at all times while their vehicles are running on Autopilot.
Consumer Reports believes that the term “Autopilot” should not have been used as a name to Tesla’s supposed autonomous driving system.
“By marketing their feature as ‘Autopilot,’ Tesla gives consumers a false sense of security,” explained Laura MacCleery, the Vice President of Consumer Policy and Mobilization for Consumer Reports. Moreover, they believe that calling the system this way leads to a “potentially dangerous assumption” that Tesla vehicles are indeed able to drive on their own.
“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,” adds MacCleery.
What Consumer Reports is suggesting now is for the Autopilot to be disabled until Tesla is able to put a program in place where it can verify that the driver’s hands are on the wheel.
In response to Consumer Reports statement, Tesla said, “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. 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.”
Tesla continues to defend its safety record, saying that their vehicles have already driven 130 million miles on Autopilot with only one confirmed fatality.