In strawberries, Tesla’s autopilot has been overtaken by Mercedes, Ford or GM

The past week has been bittersweet for Tesla. On the tail side, the results are quite remarkable efficiency. In a sectoral context that is nevertheless one of the most tense, the company that a few days ago still shocked the competition with the massive sales announced on January 25 a record increase in almost all of its main figures .

Observers specifically noted a profit worth 12.5 billion dollars (about 11.5 billion euros), as well as placing on the market 1.369 million cars, an increase of almost 50% compared to last year. Having struggled in recent months, especially due to Elon Musk’s escapades on Twitter, Tesla’s stock price has risen as a result.

Tilted face? It’s even more annoying, and this for a long time: the American publication Consumer Reports, a kind of consumer bible across the Atlantic whose tests and judgments are highly respected and listened to, hit Tesla’s heart by dismantling if what should be. one of its strongest points, the driving assistance function, named Autopilot.

According to a long analysis by Consumer Reports, this element that immediately made Tesla a tech company before becoming a car manufacturer has lagged far behind the fierce competition – particularly GM, Ford or Mercedes -, whose own Driving assistant has placed Autopilot in the soft middle of the sector pack.

As CR explains, these systems are named in English as ADA (active driving assistance) consists of the addition of two distinct capacities: the“adaptive cruise control” (AAC), which allows the car to adjust its course according to its surroundings, and the lane centering assistance which allows him to turn or switch lanes in case of need or emergency.

No hands (or head)

Consumer Reports tested twelve of these systems, all of which have unique characteristics. Now included in many vehicles placed on the market as well as on the roads, they are far from equal.

They make up “an important advancement that will help make driving easier and less stressful”, explains Jake Fisher, the boss of automotive testing for the publication. But, he added, “They don’t allow a car to drive itself”.

“Instead, they’ve created a new type of driving, working with your car’s computers. When manufacturers do it right, it can make the road safer and driving easier. But if they do it wrong , it can be dangerous.

In this game of delicate balance between automation and safety, Ford and its BlueCruise system, General Motors and its Super Cruise and then Mercedes have succeeded best. Tesla, which used to be the leader, on the other hand, has fallen in the ranking, where it is pointing to the seventh place.

One of the most important criteria on which CR bases its ranking is the safety of the systems and the way they “monitor” the attention of the person behind the wheel, to ensure that they are watching the road correctly, and that it is ready to intervene himself in the event of an emergency.

These systems sometimes go through the installation of cameras that analyze the driver’s gaze, sensors capable of determining whether his hands are on the steering wheel, and various alerts in the event of a clear break. that this obligation of attention. .

They are all the more important because, CR explains, studies show that pilots very quickly put too much trust in their assisted or automatic driving system when they use it regularly, causing serious safety problem.

“We notice frequent situations where the level of attention placed on the road is lower than what is traditionally expected of a person behind the wheel, especially due to the known limitations of these systems, which require driver to be permanently ready to regain control in a safe and quick manner”explains to Consumer Reports Pnina Gershon of MIT.

“Empowerment frees up resources, he addedand not surprisingly, drivers use these “liberated” resources for anything but driving.” Let it play Elden Ring on the car console and making it a selling point, as is the case for Tesla, maybe not the safest of ideas, or other activities are more ol-ol.

Because of this, BlueCruise and Super Cruise are the most “serious”, closely monitoring the attitude of the person behind the wheel, and not letting him lose their attention or wander for too long. Other systems, on the other hand, are more lenient, contenting themselves with a little regular pressure on the steering wheel to consider that everything is fine.

Both Tesla’s Autopilot and Mercedes’ Autopilot have, during tests, let the cars drive for 30 seconds without changing speed and without any intervention from the driver. This means, CR pointed out, that the car was able to drive more than 800 meters without attention from the person behind the wheel. “A pretty dangerous situation”ends with publication, and it’s hard not to multiply.

The question is very sensitive. A few days ago, it was revealed that Tesla’s first Autopilot demonstration video was rigged from start to finish, despite the commercial importance that Tesla’s driving system took ahead of the competition.

The US federal regulator, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also regularly has manufacturers in the crosshairs for oversold performance of its assisted or autonomous driving systems (Full Self-Driving). Many procedures have been initiated or are underway, especially following serious accidents involving the Autopilot that Elon Musk is so proud of.

As for who doesn’t seem to care. A recent tweet attracted the most unhealthy attention for the company from the federal authorities: in this one, the boss said in response to a user to think about the possibility of cutting off alerts in the event of a lack of attention.

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