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Tesla’s new $8,000 self-driving upgrade is kinda garbage, according to Consumer Reports

Honestly, this isn’t that surprising.

Tesla model 3 on road
Image: Unsplash

In late July, Elon Musk said that he could almost go from his house to work on autopilot mode, without any intervention. At that time, he was testing Tesla’s latest build of its self-driving system. 

Today, that very same system is available as an upgrade for $8,000. However, what’s regarded as a full self-driving system seems to fall short on its promise. According to extensive testing conducted by Consumer Reports, Tesla’s self-driving system still needs considerable human input. 

They tested Tesla’s new features that are part of their new self-driving system under different conditions and situations. Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, personally oversaw the testing and had some harsh words for Tesla’s latest upgrade. 

Jake expressed deep concerns regarding some of the features, suggesting that the lack of human input would be a safety concern. Furthermore, he questions the hefty fee attached to the new system ($8,000), suggesting that it is way overboard and doesn’t offer any real and tangible benefits to the buyers.

The features that they tested include: 

  • Autopilot Navigation (Beta)
  • Stop Sign Control & Traffic Light Control (Beta)
  • Summon & Smart Summon
  • Auto Lane Change
  • Autopark

The features are labeled as beta, meaning that their software is still in development.

According to Consumer Reports’ tests, even those features that are not marked as “beta” are far from complete. They found inconsistency with literally every feature, with some performing better than others. But still, there is much room for improvement. At the same time, it is fair to expect that those improvements will come with time. That’s because Tesla needs to collect a sufficient amount of data from people that opted for the latest upgrade and use it actively. 

Kelly Funkhouser, the head of connected and automated vehicle testing at Consumer Reports, also expressed her concerns regarding Tesla’s efforts to bring a product that doesn’t live up to its expectations. Part of Funkhouser’s remarks were about Tesla’s devotion to being the automaker with most features in its vehicles, rather than focusing on introducing fewer features, but features that work as advertised. 

Her last remark was about the potential risks from using and relying on this technology while on the road and how that can be very dangerous to the driver and the other traffic participants.  

In light of all that, the question “should people opt for the $8,000 full self-driving capability?” feels more like a rhetorical one rather than a debatable one.

What do you think? Are you interested in this new Tesla feature? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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