(TSLA - Analyst Report) has been asked to brief the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on a recent Model S crash that is in the limelight due to questions related to the Autopilot system.
A leading consumer advocacy group has called on Tesla to pull its controversial Autopilot feature from vehicles and change its "misleading" name, following the death of a driver using the beta feature.
Washington, July 1, 2016 (AFP) -It could be a wakeup call for the self-driving auto movement.
"Tesla's own press release for the system announced "Your Autopilot has arrived" and promised to relieve drivers 'of the most tedious and potentially unsafe aspects of road travel, '" Consumer Reports said.
"I am interested in the company's effort to ensure the Autopilot technology was deployed safely in this instance", Senator Thune said in the letter. He added that "manufacturers must educate consumers not only about their benefits but also their limitations".
Tesla autopilot crash has become incomprehensible for many as automatic steering steers, accelerates and brakes Tesla vehicles on lane-marked highways. "Moreover, crash would not have occurred if it was on", Musk wrote. Tesla revealed that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was investigating the crash in a June 30th blog post. Consumer Reports believes that drivers get confused by Tesla's message, which is that Autopilot drives the vehicle autonomously but requires the constant and full attention of the driver.
Joshua Brown, an OH resident, was killed in a Tesla Model S that crashed in Williston, Florida, on May 7 with the Autopilot mode engaged.
"By marketing their feature as "autopilot", Tesla gives consumers a false sense of security," said Laura MacCleery, vice-president of consumer policy and mobilization, Consumer Reports.
"We're deeply concerned that consumers are being sold a pile of promises about unproven technology".
"Autopilot' can't actually drive the vehicle, yet it allows consumers to have their hands off the steering wheel for minutes at a time".
The incidents, however, have had little effect on the company's shares in the market, which on Thursday traded at $222.90.
Tesla appears to be determined to keep the name unchanged for the system, which comes with a warning urging drivers to have their their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times. Tesla said on Tuesday its autosteer software, the steering function in Autopilot, was enabled during a Sunday crash involving a Model X in Montana.
If Tesla were to heed the advice, it would surely mean redesigning the steering wheel to include sensors recognising when drivers are in contact.