Consumer Watchdog Calls For “Recall” Of Tesla Autopilot Feature
Consumer Watchdog, a “nationally-recognized, California-based, non-profit consumer education and advocacy organization” is calling for a U.S. “recall” of Tesla’s Autopilot due to a “growing list of crashes” that the Watchdog groups believes to be linked to Autopilot, which is deemed unsafe by the consumer advocacy organization.
Consumer Watchdog states:
“Earlier this week a Tesla smashed into a construction barrier truck on the German autobahn while traveling at a high rate of speed and likely with Autopilot engaged. Although the car smashed under the truck, the driver was seriously injured, but not killed.”
“But in early November a Tesla crashed into a tree in Indianapolis and burst into flames killing its two occupants. Investigators are probing whether Autopilot was a factor, but the company says the car was too badly damaged to transmit data to its servers and that it could not be determined if Autopilot was engaged.”
Note that in both cases, no determination has been made as to whether or not Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash. However, that hasn’t stopped the advocacy group from calling for termination of Autopilot.
John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project Director, asked:
“How many more lives must be lost and crashes happen before Tesla Chairman Elon Musk will take responsibility and act to protect our safety?”
The question should probably be how many lives has/will Autopilot save?
Clearly, Consumer Watchdog has a grudge against Tesla/Autopilot (or maybe against all forms of autonomous drive), but there’s no concrete evidence to support the idea that Autopilot is less safe than humans controlling all of the driving. In fact, the opposite is true, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
“Tesla should stop using drivers as human guinea pigs and disable autopilot. Musk needs to stop irresponsibly hyping what the feature can do. It’s not self-driving and drivers must be completely engaged with their hands on the wheel.”
Autpilot guidelines from Tesla do clearly state that the driver must pay attention at all times and interaction with the steering wheel is indeed a requirement, so we’re not sure what’s got Simpson so enraged.
You can read the full release from Consumer Watchdog in the PR below. It contains multiple links to videos, letters and regulations.