Tesla Will Not Disable Autopilot Feature Despite Crashes

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American electric carmaker Tesla has stated that it will not disable its Autopilot feature after non-profit consumer magazine Consumer Reports published an article demanding the company to do so.

The article comes in the wake of three crashes involving the Autopilot feature, one of them leading to the death of the driver who was reportedly watching a Harry Potter movie when he crashed. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are currently investigating the fatal crash.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has on earlier occasions stated that Tesla's Autopilot is still in Beta mode. Tesla has urged owners to keep their hands on the steering wheel if they do turn the system on, in case an emergency situation requires them to be in control of the car again.

In its report, the American magazine listed out four demands to the California-based Tesla Motors. 

The report demanded that Tesla must meet the following demands  

  1. Disable 'Autosteer' until it can be reprogrammed to require drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel
  2. Stop referring to the system as "Autopilot" as it is misleading and potentially dangerous 
  3. Issue clearer guidance to owners on how the system should be used and its limitations 
  4. Test all safety-critical systems fully before public deployment; no more beta releases.

Tesla has already replied to Consumer Reports stating,  "Tesla is constantly introducing enhancements, proven over millions of miles of internal testing, to ensure that drivers supported by Autopilot remain safer than those operating without assistance. We will continue to develop, validate, and release those enhancements as the technology grows. While we appreciate well-meaning advice from any individual or group, we make our decisions on the basis of real-world data, not speculation by media."

The carmaker also stated that its Autopilot system was safe and that the system had clocked 130 million miles (209.2 million kilometres) with only one reported death.

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