Tesla Drops Radar Sensors From 2 Models, Loses US Designation For Some Advanced Safety Features

Two key groups that offer auto safety ratings are removing their best support from some Tesla vehicles because the company has stopped using radar on its safety systems.

Consumer Reports has withdrawn its “Best Pick” status for Tesla Model 3 and Y vehicles built after April 27, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety plans to remove the “Top Safety Pick Plus” designation from vehicles.

The U.S. government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration no longer checks Models 3 and Y on its website for forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and brake assist. ’emergency.

This prompted actions from rating groups. Both require electronic security systems for the highest security designations.

Consumer Reports says removing radar and relying on cameras means security features may not be available when needed.

A message was left Thursday soliciting comment from Tesla, which disbanded its media relations department.

“If a driver thinks their vehicle has a safety feature and it doesn’t, it fundamentally changes the vehicle’s safety profile,” said David Friedman, vice president of advocacy for Consumer Reports. , in a press release. “It might not be there when they think it would save their life.”

The IIHS confirmed Thursday it has removed the Top Safety Pick Plus designation, but said it remained for vehicles built with radar. The institute has announced its intention to test Tesla’s new system.

Tesla says on its website that it is transitioning to a new system called “Tesla Vision” which uses cameras, on the Model 3 and Y which will ship from May. The new system will use Tesla’s neural network cameras and computer processing for safety systems, as well as Tesla’s partially automated “Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving” driver assistance systems. Tesla also has close range sonar sensors.

CEO Elon Musk said the eight-camera vision system performs better than the best human drivers and is a step towards the company’s self-driving ambitions.

But critics have said that even with radar, Tesla doesn’t have the right sensors for autonomous vehicles. It doesn’t have laser sensors called lidar, which can see through darkness and bad weather, they say. Most other companies testing autonomous vehicles use lidar.

Tesla’s autopilot system struggled to spot stationary objects and semi-trailers turning in front of its vehicles. At least three people were killed while driving on autopilot when their cars crashed under trailers or a highway barrier. Additionally, Teslas on autopilot struck police cars and fire trucks parked on highways with their flashing lights on.

NHTSA, the government security agency, investigated 29 incidents involving Teslas, but so far the agency has taken no action on autopilot. The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that the NHTSA and Tesla limit autopilot to roads where it can be operated safely, and that Tesla install a better system to make sure drivers pay attention.

Tesla, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., Says on its website that certain vehicles may come with certain safety features temporarily “limited or inactive.” These include “Autosteer”, which keeps cars in their lanes. It will be limited to 75 miles per hour (120 kilometers per hour) and a longer distance from traffic in front of the vehicle.

Musk has also been criticized by Consumer Reports and others for calling its systems “Autopilot”, which implies that a car can drive itself, and “Full Self-Driving”, which the company says cannot drive alone.

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