Michigan readers may be concerned to learn that Tesla's latest Autopilot software update makes the technology even more dangerous according to a review by Consumer Reports magazine. Autopilot has already been involved in at least three deadly car accidents.
Tesla introduced the Navigate on Autopilot feature in 2018 and updated the software in April. For its review, Consumer Reports tested the technology and found that it did not perform as well as human drivers. The organization also found that the system created dangerous new situations. For example, Autopilot has an optional feature that lets the car decide when to change lanes on the highway without input from the driver. Unfortunately, instead of safely executing this maneuver, the car has a disturbing tendency to cut other vehicles off, particularly vehicles that are approaching from behind at a higher rate of speed. It also passed vehicles in illegal ways. In order to maintain safe control of the car, many drivers have chosen to disable the system.
In response to these criticisms, Tesla told the media that it introduced two new safety features to the Autopilot system. One change is the addition of a Lane Departure Avoidance feature, which requires drivers to put their hands on the steering wheel when the car changes lanes without a turn signal. The second change involves the Traffic Aware Cruise Control feature. If a driver repeatedly uses this system without placing their hands on the wheel, the car will decelerate to 15 mph below the speed limit and begin flashing its hazards. The automaker also pointed out that drivers are responsible for maintaining control of their vehicle at all times.
Drivers who cause car accidents by incorrectly operating semi-autonomous vehicles might be held legally liable in court. A personal injury attorney may be able to represent injured victims in a lawsuit and help them seek compensation for damages.