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article imageTesla's Autopilot system system presents issues in new test

By Tim Sandle     May 26, 2019 in Technology
Tesla has recently made improvements to its Autopilot system and the technology is designed to take aspects of autonomous car technology forwards. However, tests by Consumer Reports have raised some concerns.
Consumer Reports finds that Tesla's system, intended for driving along highways, does not work effectively when changing lanes. The review also finds that watching over the system and correcting its mistakes requires more activity for drivers than just driving the vehicle themselves. Consumer Reports is a U.S. based nonprofit organization, which aims to conduct unbiased product testing and consumer-oriented research.
In April 2019 Tesla updated its Navigate function on its Autopilot software to enable its cars to change lanes automatically, without prompting or warning the driver. This was to enable vehicles to navigate highway interchanges by selecting the appropriate lane. The aim, as described by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, was to lay down the foundations of a vehicular system that can drive itself from highway on-ramps to off-ramps without intervention.
The update is available for all properly equipped Tesla vehicles, and it is designed to allow a car to change lanes on its own while the driver's hands just hold the steering wheel. According to a review by Peter Valdes-Dapena of CNN: "Most of the time...the car was largely driving on its own. Our hands were on the steering wheel as we took turns driving back and forth between two locations in New Jersey but, as long as we were on a highway, the car was doing most of the work."
However, this ease of use was not mirrored in the Consumer Reports review. Consumer Reports state that the system does a poor job changing lanes and that watching over the system and correcting its mistakes is more work for drivers than just driving themselves.
Concerns identified were cutting off vehicles moving at faster speeds as well as traffic-merging and braking issues. Furthermore, when merging into heavy traffic, Consumer Reports Director of Auto Testing Jake Fisher noted that the 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.”
According to Gizmodo, Tesla states 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.”
More about Tesla, autonomous cars, Electric cars, selfdriving car
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