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Consumer Reports Blasts Tesla’s New Smart Summon Feature Calling it a “Science Experiment”

dangers of driverless cars

Consumer Reports has finally been vocal about Tesla’s new automated parking system. In a new report,  the organization stated that the Smart Summon feature operates less like a “tame pet” Tesla CEO Elon Musk described it, and more like a drunken or distracted driver. According to a news report, in tests conducted at the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center, the vehicle reportedly drove in the middle of the traffic lane. The report said the vehicle would “wander left and right as it drove – erratically, like a drunken or distracted driver.”

Consumers Paying to Fine-Tune Tesla’s Tech

Consumer Reports has likened Smart Summon, currently under review by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to a “science experiment,” suggesting it is not ready for consumers. Consumer Reports senior director of auto testing calls it a “work in progress.” He said consumers get a chance to “participate in a kind of science experiment.”

The feature, which Tesla rolled out to certain users last month as part of a larger software update, allows users to move their Tesla vehicles a short distance, such as in a parking lot or driveway, using their smartphones. However, soon after the feature was rolled out, Tesla drivers posted pictures and videos on social media of dents and other issues. Consumer Reports has blasted Smart Summon as “glitchy” and has urged consumers not to pay to help Tesla fine-tune its technology for the future.

Tesla provides the service only to drivers who have opted for the “full self-driving” package, which costs about $6,000. Tesla has come under scrutiny for fatal crashes linked to its Autopilot system, which is a semi-automated feature. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) pointed out recently that the Autopilot design is flawed.

Stop Using Consumers as Guinea Pigs

Our auto defect attorneys have repeatedly said that Tesla has done nothing but try to use consumers as test subjects for its so-called ground-breaking technology. Autopilot was never ready for prime time when it was first released, and we still don’t think it’s ready. We’ve seen the utter fiasco that Smart Summon has proved to be.

It’s time for Tesla to do the responsible thing. The company needs to diligently test its software and products before releasing them to consumers. Using consumers as guinea pigs to test this technology and making them pay for it is absolutely unconscionable.


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