Consumer Reports raised serious concerns about the safety of a beta version of Tesla’s autonomous technology, which is currently being tested by owners on public roads.
Tesla has allowed some owners to install and test their advanced driver assistance system for some time now, and the Full Self-Driving beta 9 was recently released. Beta testing is far from new, but unique to Tesla in the automotive industry, and, according to Consumer Reports, it lacks adequate security measures.
“The videos of FSD beta 9 in action do not show a system that makes driving safer or even less stressful,” said Jake Fisher, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Automated Testing Center. “Consumers are just paying to be test engineers to develop technologies without proper protection.”
Most other car manufacturers and tech companies testing and developing autonomous driving systems either do so on private roads or exclusively with trained drivers behind the wheel of prototypes. Not only has Tesla gone a different route, it doesn’t even track drivers in real time who are testing its systems.
While promoting the latest beta version of Full Self-Driving, Elon Musk admitted that the system has problems and warned users.
“Beta 9 solves most of the known issues, but there will be unknown issues, so be careful,” he tweeted. “Safety has always been a top priority at Tesla.”
Consumer Reports cites one particular video uploaded to YouTube as an example of the limitations and dangers of beta testing. In the video, Tesla Model 3 makes many mistakes and at one stage it scratches against a bush, and after turning left, it goes straight to the parked car, forcing the driver to take control.
Auto Safety Center executive director Jason Levin is also seriously concerned about Tesla beta testing.
“Vehicle manufacturers who choose to beta test their untested technology on both their vehicle owners and the general public without consent are at best discarding safety measures and at worst leading to preventable accidents and fatalities.” he said.