Consumer Reports: Tesla’s New Automatic Lane-Changing Is Much Worse Than a Human Driver

“Tesla’s updated Navigate on Autopilot software now lets some drivers choose whether the car can automatically change lanes without his or her input,” writes Consumer Reports — before complaining that the feature “doesn’t work very well and could create safety risks for drivers.”

An anonymous reader quotes their report:
In practice, we found that the new Navigate on Autopilot lane-changing feature lagged far behind a human driver’s skills. The feature cut off cars without leaving enough space, and even passed other cars in ways that violate state laws, according to several law enforcement representatives CR interviewed for this report. As a result, the driver often had to prevent the system from making poor decisions. “The system’s role should be to help the driver, but the way this technology is deployed, it’s the other way around,” says Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ senior director of auto testing. “It’s incredibly nearsighted. It doesn’t appear to react to brake lights or turn signals, it can’t anticipate what other drivers will do, and as a result, you constantly have to be one step ahead of it….”
Multiple testers reported that the Tesla often changed lanes in ways that a safe human driver wouldn’t — cutting too closely in front of other cars, and passing on the right. An area of particular concern is Tesla’s claim that the vehicle’s three rearward-facing cameras can detect fast-approaching objects from the rear better than the average driver can. Our testers found the opposite to be true in practice. “The system has trouble responding to vehicles that approach quickly from behind,” Fisher says. “Because of this, the system will often cut off a vehicle that is going at a much faster speed, since it doesn’t seem to sense the oncoming car until it’s relatively close.”

Fisher says merging into traffic is another problem. “It is reluctant to merge in heavy traffic, but when it does, it often immediately applies the brakes to create space behind the follow car,” he says, “and this can be a rude surprise to the vehicle you cut off… This isn’t a convenience at all. Monitoring the system is much harder than just changing lanes yourself.”

In the article David Friedman, vice president of advocacy at Consumer Reports, complains that Tesla “is showing what not to do on the path toward self-driving cars: release increasingly automated driving systems that aren’t vetted properly.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

May 26, 2019 at 12:34AM http://bit.ly/2Mjrh1E

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