Consumer reports slam Tesla’s Full Self Driving tech

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Words: Matthew Hansen
22 Jul 2021

The relationship between non-profit outlet Consumer Reports and Tesla can best be seen as ‘complicated’, with the two entities having gone tit-for-tat over various issues the former has found in the latter’s cars over the years.

Now, Consumer Reports has issued a fairly considerable shot at Tesla’s Full Self Driving (FSD) tech; a feature that was confirmed to be offered to owners this week on a subscription basis. Speaking specifically about the new FSD beta 9 version, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center Jake Fisher didn’t mince his words.

“Videos of FSD beta 9 in action don’t show a system that makes driving safer or even less stressful,” he said. “Consumers are simply paying to be test engineers for developing technology without adequate safety protection.

“Tesla just asking people to pay attention isn’t enough – the system needs to make sure people are engaged when the system is operational. We already know that testing and developing self-driving systems without adequate driver support can – and will – end in fatalities.”

While confirmed cases of crashes among those testing earlier versions of FSD are rare, videos uploaded by numerous owners show that the system appears to be easily flummoxed, particularly in urban environments.

One video NZ Autocar detailed in March showed a driver running evaluations with his Model 3, with FSD beta 8.2 activated. The test took place at an intersection where the driver was turning left across three lanes of traffic. Over 10 minutes of attempts, the car was hesitant, requiring the driver to override FSD at least once to avoid a collision.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says FSD beta 9 addresses a lot of the last beta’s issues. “Beta 9 address [sic] most known issues, but there will be unknown issues, so please be paranoid,” he wrote on Twitter. “Safety is always top priority at Tesla.”




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