While the future of transportation in self-driving cars seems to grow closer every day, that reality might actually be much further away than it seems, the LA Times reports. Nonprofit product testing organization Consumer Reports found on Wednesday that Tesla’s autopilot technology is much more prone to error than human drivers.
In the review published this week, Consumer Reports said that “it observed the opposite in its own tests of the feature, finding that it doesn’t work very well and could create potential safety risks for drivers.”
This is a huge step back from what Tesla calls “a more seamless active guidance experience” that allows Tesla cars to change lanes automatically.
The feature, CR said, is “far less competent than a human driver.”
“The system’s role should be to help the driver, but the way this technology is deployed, it’s the other way around,” the magazine’s head director of auto testing, Jeff Fisher, said.
The autopilot feature is intended to make driving safer and easier by giving consumers one less thing to worry about while driving, changing lanes without driver confirmation. However, CR tests found that “the feature cut off cars without leaving enough space and even passed other cars in ways that violate state laws... As a result, the driver often had to prevent the system from making poor decisions.”
Tesla noted that in a blog post from early April, the company stated that “more than 9 million suggested lane changes have been successfully executed with the feature in use.” And Tesla drivers, the company said, have accumulated more than 66 million miles of travel with the Navigate on Autopilot feature that guides highway-driving vehicles “from on-ramp to off-ramp.”