Tesla Autopilot slips in driver assistance ratings

WASHINGTON – Tesla’s advanced driver-assistance system Autopilot fell in the ranking of the 12 leading systems, Consumer Reports said Wednesday.

Ford’s BlueCruise was the first of 12 systems tested by Consumer Reports, a nonprofit that evaluates products and services, followed by General Motors’ Super Cruise and Mercedes-Benz Driver Assistance.

Tesla, which ranked second to Supercruise in 2020 Consumer Reports, fell to seventh place, the group said. The electric car maker didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Tesla hasn’t changed the basic functionality of Autopilot, instead adding features, the group said.

“To date, Autopilot still doesn’t allow co-steering and doesn’t have an effective driver-monitoring system,” said Jake Fisher, director of automated testing at Consumer Reports.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating 830,000 Autopilot-equipped Teslas after several collisions with parked emergency vehicles.

NHTSA is investigating whether Tesla vehicles adequately ensure driver attention. In June, officials said they had evidence that in most collisions with emergency vehicles under investigation, drivers followed Tesla’s alert strategy to try to get drivers’ attention, calling into question its effectiveness. .

Acting NHTSA Secretary Ann Carlson said earlier this month that the agency was “working very quickly” on the Autopilot probe. “We are moving as quickly as we can, but we also want to be careful and make sure we have all the information we need,” she said.

In 2020, the National Transportation Safety Board criticized Tesla’s “ineffective oversight of driver engagement” after a fatal Autopilot crash in 2018.

Autopilot is designed to allow a car to steer, accelerate and brake in its lane without driver intervention, but Tesla says the feature “requires active driver monitoring. and does not make the vehicle autonomous.”

NHTSA has launched a separate, special investigation into more than 30 Tesla crashes, in which 19 people were reported killed in the crash, suspected of using advanced systems, including autopilot.

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