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Consumer Reports has posted a downright ugly review of Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot feature.
Consumer Reports said the system is “less competent than a human driver”, makes “poor decisions”, and creates “potential safety risks.”
Navigate on Autopilot, a feature of Tesla’s self-driving Autopilot technology, enables the car to guide itself from a highway’s on-ramp to off-ramp, including suggesting and making lane changes, navigating highway interchanges, and taking exits.
“The system’s role should be to help the driver, but the way this technology is deployed, it’s the other way around,” said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at CR, as part of its report. “It’s incredibly nearsighted. It doesn’t appear to react to brake lights or turn signals, it can’t anticipate what other drivers will do, and as a result, you constantly have to be one step ahead of it.”
Consumer Reports’ own Model 3 purchased for testing purposes was used for several highway trips in Connecticut, where the reviewer believed the car was taking too many risks. Consumer Reports thought the car changed lanes too closely to other cars, was reluctant to merge in heavy traffic, and when it did, it applied its brakes in a jarring way to create space between it and the car ahead.
“This isn’t a convenience at all,” Fisher said in the report. “Monitoring the system is much harder than just changing lanes yourself. Using the system is like monitoring a kid behind the wheel for the very first time. As any parent knows, it’s far more convenient and less stressful to simply drive yourself.”
Last year, Consumer Reports named the Model 3 as its top-rated luxury compact car. The endorsement came after the the publication previously would not recommend the vehicle. However, Tesla made improvements to the car’s brakes via an over-the-air update that satisfied the Consumer Reports reviewers. In February, the Model 3 topped a Consumer Reports survey of how happy car buyers are with the car they own.