It appears that the barrage of problems facing Tesla are never-ending. Despite the EV maker’s robust confidence in everything autonomous, researchers and safety experts at Consumer Reports are not echoing the same sentiment. The consumer advocate raised a series of scathing concerns regarding Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” software, citing alarming reports from drivers about the EV maker’s use of the system on public roads.
Last week, Tesla released the latest prototype version of its driving assistance software, called the FSD beta 9, or what the automaker calls “Full Self-Driving.” Despite the misleading name, the new prototype is not actually self-driving, but it does come with a sweeping new set of features that significantly alter the vehicle’s operation. Indeed, the software update now automates even more driving operations, such as maneuvering city intersections under the driver’s oversight.
However, according to a report published on Tuesday, Consumer Reports revealed that the use of the latest set of FSD beta 9 features on public roads lacks proper safeguards, and may put the unsuspecting public at risk. Although the consumer advocate acknowledged it has yet to test the new software given that its Model Y SUV has not yet received the update, it did express concerns about the system’s safety and performance after reviewing content posted on social media.
“So far, our experts have watched videos posted on social media of other drivers trying it out and are concerned with what they’re seeing—including vehicles missing turns, scraping against bushes, and heading toward parked cars,” the report said. As Consumer Reports senior director Jake Fisher adds, “Videos of FSD beta 9 in action don’t show a system that makes driving safer or even less stressful.”
According to Consumer Reports, Tesla is essentially using its “existing vehicle owners to beta-test new features on public roads,” which raises concerns among safety experts. Although Tesla drivers may be assuming some level of heightened risk when they consent to the FSD beta 9 update, other unsuspecting drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists may not know they too, by default, are subject to risk they did not agree to.
Although Tesla has urged its customers to pay attention while driving, Fisher says that it is not enough: “The system needs to make sure people are engaged when the system is operational.” Recall, back in April, Consumer Reports engineers were able to bypass the Autopilot’s safety features all while the driver’s seat remained empty, as the vehicle steered itself alongside the painted lines on the road.
“Consumers are simply paying to be test engineers for developing technology without adequate safety protection,” Fisher concluded.
Information for this briefing was found via Consumer Reports. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.