Tesla’s Autopilot system has a long way to go if it wants to be the industry leader, with Consumer Reports rating it “a distant second” to top dog GM.
Elon Musk’s electric automaker scored 57 out of a possible 100 points in the publication’s Wednesday ranking of active driver assistance systems, trailing well behind GM’s 69 points, but still beating out 15 other competitors.
“Even with new systems from many different automakers, [GM’s] Super Cruise still comes out on top due to the infrared camera ensuring the driver’s eyes are looking toward the roadway,” Consumer Reports’ Kelly Funkhouser said of the testing.
Tesla’s tech has made “minor improvements in lane keeping performance,” but testers found that the Model Y resisted manual input to the wheel if, for example, a driver wanted to avoid a pothole that the system could not see. This forced the driver to apply more force to the wheel, which in turn shut off Autopilot.
GM’s Super Cruise system also beat out the Model 3 the last time Consumer Reports tested the systems back in 2018.
In recent European safety testing, a Tesla Model 3 with Autopilot placed sixth out of 10 systems, getting high marks for performance and ability to respond to emergencies, but falling short on its ability to maintain a driver’s focus on the road.
Tesla’s Autopilot system has previously been blasted by the National Transportation Safety Board for lacking safeguards that would ensure drivers are paying attention to the road even if the car is driving itself.
Autopilot has been involved in five fatal crashes since 2016, including an accident in Mountain View, Calif. just miles from Tesla’s headquarters. Autopilot helps Tesla drivers steer, accelerate and brake automatically in their lane, but requires them to keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) earlier this year called on Tesla to rebrand Autopilot, calling it “an inherently misleading name” because the cars cannot fully drive themselves.
With Post wires
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