Consumer Reports said that on multiple trips on its closed lanes with an empty driver’s seat, its Tesla Model Y automatically drove along the painted lane lines without recognizing that no one was in the driver’s seat.
Consumer Reports said Thursday it was able to easily trick a Tesla into driving the car on autopilot with no one behind the wheel.
His test came just days after a Tesla crashed in Texas, killing both men in the car. Authorities say none of the men were in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash.
Tesla’s partially automated autopilot system can keep a car centered in its lane, stay clear of cars in front of it, and can even change lanes on its own with the driver’s consent. But Tesla said the driver must be ready to step in at all times.
Consumer Reports said that on multiple trips on its closed lanes with an empty driver’s seat, its Tesla Model Y automatically drove along the painted lane lines without recognizing that no one was in the driver’s seat. The Tesla that crashed outside of Houston over the weekend was a Model S, but also had an autopilot function.
“In our assessment, the system not only failed to make sure the driver was paying attention, it couldn’t tell if there was a driver there,” said Jake Fisher, senior manager. Consumer Reports automatic testing, conducted the experiment. “Tesla lags behind other automakers like GM and Ford who, on models with advanced driver assistance systems, use the technology to make sure the driver is looking at the road.”
Tesla, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., And has disbanded its press office, did not immediately respond to inquiries about the claims from Consumer Reports.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are in the early stages of an investigation into the Texas accident. Local authorities said a man was found in the passenger seat, while another was in the back. The car pulled off the road, crashed into a tree and caught fire, authorities said.
Investigators should be able to determine if Tesla’s autopilot system was in use.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter Monday that data logs “recovered so far” show that the autopilot was not activated in the Texas crash and that “full autonomous driving »Was not purchased for the vehicle. He did not respond to questions from reporters posted on Twitter.
In the past, the NHTSA, which has the power to regulate automakers and request recalls for faulty vehicles, has taken a hands-on approach to regulating partial and fully automated systems for fear of hampering the development of promising new features. .
But since March, the agency has stepped up its investigations into Tesla, dispatching teams to three crashes. It has investigated 28 Tesla crashes in recent years, but so far has relied on voluntary safety compliance from auto and tech companies.
Also on Thursday, Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey called on federal officials to fully investigate the Texas crash and make recommendations to improve automated driving.
In the Consumer Reports test, Fisher said he engaged the autopilot while the car was in motion on the track and then set the speed dial to zero to stop it. Fisher then affixed a small weighted chain to the steering wheel to simulate the weight of a driver’s hand. He then slid into the front passenger seat where he was able to accelerate and decelerate the vehicle.
“The car drove through the half-mile lane of our track several times, never noticing that no one was in the driver’s seat, never noticing that no one was touching the steering wheel, never noticing that they were in the driver’s seat. there was no weight on the seat. Fisher said. “It was a little scary when we realized how easy it was to bypass guarantees, which we clearly proved insufficient.”
Consumer Reports noted that the test was carried out on its closed track and that “no one should in any way try” to duplicate it.
“Let me be clear: anyone who uses autopilot on the road without someone in the driver’s seat is putting themselves and others in imminent danger,” Fisher said.