Photo: Consumer Report
Consumer Reports recently released a video and report of how they tricked a Tesla car and its Autopilot function while trying to point out that the feature was not safe. However, the previously respected organization only proved how desperately and completely undeservedly it tries to discriminate against Tesla, while not carrying out appropriate "deception" tests for other brands.
The trick of the Consumer Reports testing was as follows: they put a weight on a Tesla Model Y steering wheel; the tester sitting in the front passenger seat pressed the acceleration pedal; the car was on a road with dividing lanes; the driver's seat belt was fastened. All of these factors ultimately allowed the Autopilot to be activated, which Consumer Reports called unsafe, blaming Tesla for it.
Thus, by tricking the car's systems, the testers forced Autopilot to drive the car. But, can we consider this experiment as something really worthy of confidence credit? Keep in mind that any car can be tricked. For example, a person can make a Ford or any other car move by putting a weighting agent on the acceleration pedal. Is it dangerous? Yes. Does this stop irresponsible people from experimenting like this? Perhaps some of them, but certainly not all. After this, is it correct to say that the car that was deceived is unsafe? No.
Consumer Reports testing Tesla autopilot pic.twitter.com/IqgBUZww1b— Tesla Owners Online (@Model3Owners) April 22, 2021
New Street Research analyst Pierre Ferragu also addresses the above situation. He points out that the Consumer Reports test showed only that Tesla, like any other car, can be forced to drive by deception. However, this is not a reason to claim that all cars are dangerous.
Consumer Report showed you can trick à tesla to self drive without a driver. This car is dangerous! Stop selling it! I just showed you can drive an F150 with windows open, a machine gun in your hands, and shoot around random bullets. This car is dangerous! Stop selling it!— Pierre Ferragu (@p_ferragu) April 24, 2021
In fact, the absurdity of the situation lies in the fact that the testers tricked the car's systems in order to force the car to move, violating the rules and regulations. At the same time, they pointed out that “Tesla is falling behind other automakers like GM and Ford that, on models with advanced driver assist systems, use technology to make sure the driver is looking at the road.” However, this claim is as empty and unsubstantiated as the test with Tesla itself. If Consumer Reports does this to Tesla, then they are obliged to compare it to cars that were also cheated.
For example, in order to defeat driver monitoring systems of other cars, special stickers can be used that simulate open eyes. They can be glued to the eyelid or glasses, which deceive the system and activate the corresponding functions of the car. Consumer Reports is obliged to conduct a similar test! Nevertheless, we should not count on this, because the results will confirm that at the moment, any driver monitoring system in all cars can be deceived. Yet, that they don't try to deceive other systems illustrates that their test and conclusions about Autopilot--which are totally absurd--deliberately target Tesla, and Tesla alone.
How defeat driver monitoring systems. pic.twitter.com/1Zkx5teaVf— 尹天熾 - A.K.A. RandyVegetables (@RandyVegetables) April 23, 2021
The bottom line is that there will always be irresponsible people who put their lives and the lives of those around them at risk, cheating cars, and forcing them to move dangerously, violating all existing rules. Tesla never claimed that its cars fully move independently and vice versa, and the company obliges drivers to be very attentive and careful when using the Autopilot function, and to follow other important rules. So can we blame the company for the fact that irresponsible people drive their cars? Absolutely not! Can we take the Consumer Reports experiment as something really credible? Absolutely not!
© 2021, Eva Fox. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.