Tesla has been under an increasing level of scrutiny for years due to its Autopilot suite of advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS). However, most of today's cars have similar suites of active safety aids, and, according to Car and Driver, none of them can accurately detect all forms of driver misuse. More specifically, every system allowed the car to be "driven" without a driver.
Tesla's Autopilot system and Full Self-Driving Beta capability are constantly under fire, but it seems it may simply boil down to the systems' names, as well as the potential expectations those names may work to suggest.
As you may remember, Consumer Reports took a lot of heat for showing people how to trick Tesla Autopilot. This is partly due to the fact that the publication performed the test based on false information related to a crash. However, what was even more problematic was that CR didn't test any other systems to see if similar issues existed.
Leave it to Car and Driver to set the record straight. The publication tested a number of today's ADAS without a driver to see exactly what might happen. The results were quite telling since every single system worked without a driver, regardless of its hardware, driver-monitoring technology, etc. Essentially, if people want to trick their car's ADAS, it's not hard, and they don't have to be driving a Tesla with Autopilot to engage in such aggressively unsafe behavior.
Car and Driver gathered 17 vehicles – at least one from essentially every automaker. The publication points out that as these systems are coming standard in most new cars, it's a big problem that every last one of them allowed the car to function without a driver. Much like most of the issues Tesla is scrutinized over, this isn't a Tesla issue, but an industry-wide concern.
Tesla recently added active driver monitoring, which many other cars already have, but it seems that simply having the feature doesn't necessarily solve the problem. Perhaps this is why Tesla hesitated to add it for so long?
The C&D testing included taking off the seat belt, removing hands from the steering wheel, tricking the systems by hanging something from the steering wheel to simulate human hand torque, tricking the driver monitoring system with gag eyeball glasses, and finally, getting out of the driver's seat completely.
Of course, the various systems performed differently in each test, though every single car allowed "driving" without someone in the driver's seat.
While Car and Driver does an excellent job of summarizing the testing in the video at the top of the page, there's a whole lot more information in the related article. Follow the source link below for all the details. Then, start a conversation about this topic in our comment section below.
Sources: Car and Driver, Car and Driver (YouTube)