Tesla’s driver assistance systems have been slammed as “especially misleading” by one of the UK’s leading car safety experts…
Is Tesla’s Autopilot Misleading?
Matthew Avery, from Thatcham Research and a Euro NCAP board member, has criticised the way Tesla markets its ‘Autopilot’ systems. He’s said that he, and the organisations he’s worked for, have “warned of the pitfalls to the Autopilot system”, which he claims “is not a self-driving system. It is there to provide driver assistance, not become an invisible chauffeur”. His comments follow a ruling made by a Bavarian court that Tesla’s marketing has misled customers. As consequence, it’s banned the company from using the terms “full potential for autonomous driving” and “Autopilot inclusive” in its advertisements.
As it stands, Tesla’s Autopilot feature allows its vehicles to use adaptive cruise control – allowing it to match vehicles in front. It also possesses lane-keeping assist, which keeps Tesla models within line markings and, in some instances, switches lanes automatically when the driver indicates. These features, alongside automatic emergency braking, are marketed by Tesla as ‘Autopilot’. The company even claims “all new Tesla cars have the hardware needed in the future for full self-driving in almost all circumstances”.
The fear held by safety experts is that the very word ‘autopilot’ implies that Tesla’s cars are capable of driving themselves, without human intervention; and that this can lead to serious road accidents. Thatcham Research claims that UK Tesla drivers have recently received an email that states “our records indicate that you haven’t upgraded your Model S… to Full Self-Driving Capability. You can upgrade now at a reduced price of £2,200″.
Avery believes many of Tesla’s ‘automatic’ features are commendable and can improve driver safety. His criticisms stem from the fact that Tesla implies that its cars can do more, without human intervention, than they actually can. He explained, “the outcomes of driver over-reliance on the Autopilot system can be catastrophic. Reports of accidents with Autopilot engaged have become all too familiar. Many are fatal and we don’t know if drivers were ‘taking a chance’ or worse still, literally believing their Autopilot system was fully capable of driving the car itself”.
Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, has repeatedly stated that the company is on the verge of producing completely self-driving cars – cars that won’t require human input, at all, whilst travelling from ‘A’ to ‘B’. Indeed, he’s claimed that by the end of 2020 the company will have rolled out a million ‘robotaxis’. Needless to say, analysts and investors aren’t convinced. Recently, Musk Tweeted “Tesla Autopilot was literally named after the term used in aviation. Also, what about Autobahn!?” on the subject…
Tesla Remotely Disabled Autopilot Software On A Used Model S After It Was Sold – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/tesla-remotely-disables-autopilot-software-on-used-model-s/
A Wide Range: These Are The Electric Cars With The Most Juice – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/electric-most-range/