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Consumer Reports is throwing Tesla’s ‘Navigate on Autopilot’ feature under the bus again

Yikes.

tesla model 3 autopilot
Image: Teslarati

Consumer Reports and Tesla are back at it again. This time, the consumer advocacy publication reports that the company’s ‘Navigate on Autopilot’ feature, a function that allows the car to switch lanes automatically and practically drive itself, is posing a considerable safety risk to owners and other drivers on the road.

Yea, not good. There’s a lot to unpack here, so if you don’t find what you’re looking for here, we suggest checking out the full report from Consumer Reports here.

Here’s what we know from Consumer Reports’ tests with the Model 3’s ‘Navigate on Autopilot’ function

Through its independent testing with the Model 3 driving on the highway, Consumer Reports found a few safety issues that could pose some serious issues down the line. Here are some of the key points from the report:

  • Some of the problems reported by Consumer Reports include cutting off vehicles driving at faster speeds. Additional issues include traffic-merging and braking issues.
  • According to Consumer Reports’ Director of Auto Testing Jake Fisher, when the Model 3 merged into heavy traffic, the ‘Navigate on Autopilot’ system “often immediately applies the brakes to create space behind the follow car—this can be a rude surprise to the vehicle you cut off.
  • The vehicle attempted to make lane changes that are illegal on most highways.

“In essence, the system does the easy stuff, but the human needs to intervene when things get more complicated,” Fisher says. “Monitoring the system is much harder than just changing lanes yourself.”

Tesla really wants you to know that these features do not make its cars autonomous

Tesla has yet to respond to Consumer Reports’ findings. Shocker, right? When pressed for comment by Gizmodo, the company did not immediately return a request for comment. However, the company does offer some insights into its ‘Navigate on Autopilot’ function in an April blog post.

  • Tesla says ‘Navigate on Autopilot’ can be set when while you’re driving to either turn on by itself, alert the driver of upcoming lane changes, or require a confirmation from the driver for the action.
  • Drivers can stop an automatic lane change through the car’s touchscreen or by moving the vehicle’s turn signal left or right.
  • Tesla reiterates in its blog post that “until truly driverless cars are validated and approved by regulators, drivers are responsible for and must remain in control of their car at all times.”

Consumer Reports is usually right on the money when it comes to its independent investigations. Like, they know their stuff. I mean this is a car that for the most part, drives itself. If there’s anyone who could point out its faults, it’s these guys. And honestly, I can appreciate that.

For the rest of CR’s findings in its independent investigation, read the full report here.

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