Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Consumer Reports Reviews Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’

Mike Monticello, Consumer Reports:

We assessed the Full Self-Driving Capability features on Tesla vehicles we previously purchased for our regular testing program. The features, each designed to work only in certain situations, such as in a private parking lot or during highway driving, can be turned on and off by the driver. We put each feature in the suite to the test, and the results, detailed below, were mixed, to say the least.

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Navigate on Autopilot, when activated, allows a Tesla traveling on the highway to autonomously take on- and off-ramps and make lane changes as long as a destination has been programmed into the navigation system. We found the performance to be inconsistent, with the system sometimes ignoring exit ramps on the set route, driving in the carpool lane, and staying in the passing lane for long periods of time. The feature also would completely disengage at times for no apparent reason.

Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control is designed to come to a complete stop at all stoplights, even when they are green, unless the driver overrides the system. We found several problems with this system, including the basic idea that it goes against normal driving practice for a car to start slowing to a stop for a green light. At times, it also drove through stop signs, slammed on the brakes for yield signs even when the merge was clear, and stopped at every exit while going around a traffic circle.

Given the unpredictable, unreliable, and distracting nature of these features, I think it is irresponsible for Tesla to be shipping them to drivers in their current guise. The general public, in the form of owners and everyone around them, should not be at risk because Tesla wants to run its beta testing program in the real world.