Consumer Reports Calls on Tesla Motors to Deactivate Its Autopilot System


Consumer Reports called on Tesla Motors to deactivate its partial self-driving system, which it dubs Autopilot, after a deadly accident.

The magazine said Thursday that electric-vehicle maker Tesla should block its Autopilot steering technology, overhaul it and rebrand it. What’s more, Consumer Reports said the name Autopilot is “misleading and potentially dangerous,” thus dealing another blow to the automaker’s self-driving car momentum.

The automatic steering portion of Autopilot — which steers, accelerates and brakes Tesla vehicles automatically on lane-marked highways — should be deactivated “until it can be reprogrammed to require drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel,” Consumer Reports said.

The assessment comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Transportation Safety Board launched investigations into the crash of 40-year-old Ohio resident Joshua Brown, who was killed when his Tesla Model S with Autopilot activated slammed into a truck that was crossing his path laterally.

Laura MacCleery, vice president of consumer policy and mobilization for Consumer Reports, said in a statement that self-driving systems “could make our roads safer” eventually, “but today, we’re deeply concerned that consumers are being sold a pile of promises about unproven technology.”

The watchdog magazine, which concluded in an October review that Tesla’s Autopilot system “worked quite well.” But it noted that it is not a true self-driving system and raised some questions about safety.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Nathan Bomey