In a letter to Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Friday, Consumer Watchdog called Musk’s response to a fatal Tesla Model S Autopilot crash “woefully inadequate” and called on the company to immediately turn off the Autopilot feature on all active Tesla vehicles.
Consumer Watchdog specifically noted Musk’s “inexplicable delay” in responding to the crash, but added that Tesla’s Autopilot technology simply isn’t ready for the road. “An autopilot whose sensors cannot distinguish between the side of a white truck and a bright sky simply is not ready to be deployed on public roads,” the group said. “Tesla should immediately disable the autopilot feature on all your vehicles until it can be proven to be safe. At a minimum, Autopilot must be disabled until the complete results of NHTSA’s investigation are released.” The group pointed to Tesla’s “beta mode” option that seems to suggest it isn’t ready for public roads.
As we reported earlier this week, Tesla is working to deploy Autopilot 2.0, which may use two cameras to help a camera know more about its surroundings. That might help address some of Consumer Watchdog’s concerns, but it still wants Tesla to take the responsibility when Autopilot fails. “Tesla must assume liability for any crashes that occur when the feature is engaged,” the group said. “Both Volvo and Mercedes have said they will accept liability when their self-driving technology is responsible for a crash.”
Consumer Watchdog ended its letter accusing Tesla of “rushing self-driving technologies to the highways prematurely.”