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Tesla cars can run when no one is behind the wheel, the engineers said

Tesla cars can drive when no one is behind the wheel, Consumer Reports engineers said

According to consumer reports on Thursday, it took the Tesla Model Y 2020 on a closed test track to see if the electric vehicle could run on Autopilot, Tesla's automated driving system, without anyone in the driver's seat. The product testing organization said it could "easily get the car into motion, even without anyone in the driver's seat."

Consumer reports said Tesla's system was defrauded by placing a loaded chain on the wheel and keeping the seat belts fastened on the driver's seat.

The test was conducted after the 2019 Model S fatal accident in Texas on Saturday, during which two federal investigations were triggered by the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Traffic Safety Administration. Police said after a preliminary investigation that they believe no one was in the Tesla driver's seat at the time of the accident.

A comprehensive investigation has not been completed, and authorities have not said whether Autopilot or Tesla's premium automated driving system, marketed as Full Self-Driving or FSD, was in use at the time of the collision. Tesla warns in its owner's manual that Autopilot and FSD require active supervision.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet on Monday: "Recovered data logs so far show that Autopilot was not engaged and this car did not buy FSD. In addition, the standard Autopilot would require the inclusion of a lane line which this street did not have. "

Following Musk's tweet, Texas police planned to issue search warrants for Tesla to secure the data from a disaster.

In a statement on Thursday, Jake Fisher, senior director of Automatic Testing at Consumer Reports, said: “In our test, the system just failed to make sure the driver was paying attention - it couldn't even tell if there was a driver at all. "

Consumer Reports engineers have found in previous tests that the Tesla Autopilot - like many automated driving systems - can operate where there is no lane line.

Fisher said, “Any system that looks at the lane lines - can get ripped off. They may perceive something as a lane line which is not like a car lane, curb, can be interpreted as a lane line etc. ”He noted that Tesla's Autopilot only requires one lane line to turn on, while some systems require a double line.

Fisher said, "Tesla is lagging behind other car makers such as GM and Ford, who are using technology to make sure the driver is looking at the road on models with advanced driver assistance systems. "

BMW, Ford, GM, Subaru and others use camera-based driver assistance systems to track the eye movement and driver's head position to make sure they pay attention to Some of these vehicles, including those with the GM Super Cruise system, automatically slow down and they stop when they detect drivers being too inattentive or absent.

Tesla vehicles do not have such a camera, but they do have sensors in the steering wheel that can detect if the driver has his hands on the steering wheel. Vehicles will "harass" drivers to put the han ds back on the steering wheel if they are too inattentive. Autopilot or FSD may eventually prevent the driver from using this feature if the warnings are ignored too many times.

The disaster in Texas continues to attract widespread attention. On Thursday, Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. And Ed Markey, D-Mass., Wrote a letter to the NHTSA administrator asking the agency to "conduct a thorough investigation into the accident" and recommend corrective action to prevent similar accidents from happening again.

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