Tesla analyst Pierre Ferragu of New Street Research is not impressed with Consumer Reports’ test that apparently “tricked” a Model Y into driving itself without anyone in the passenger seat.
Earlier this week, Consumer Reports claims that it made a Model Y drive itself by “tricking” it with a series of weights, contraptions, and loopholes that everyday drivers would never use. The experiment concluded that Tesla’s self-driving systems could operate without a driver in the driver’s seat, but many weren’t impressed with the study’s findings.
Now, Ferragu is commenting on the CR experiment, and he destroyed the testing process along with the overall results of the test.
“Consumer Report showed you can trick à tesla to self-drive without a driver. This car is dangerous! Stop selling it! I just showed you can drive an F150 with windows open, a machine gun in your hands, and shoot around random bullets. This car is dangerous! Stop selling it,” Ferragu said in a satirical Twitter post.
Consumer Report showed you can trick à tesla to self drive without a driver. This car is dangerous! Stop selling it! I just showed you can drive an F150 with windows open, a machine gun in your hands, and shoot around random bullets. This car is dangerous! Stop selling it!
— Pierre Ferragu (@p_ferragu) April 24, 2021
While CR was attempting to prove that Tesla’s Autopilot and Full-Self Driving systems could operate without anyone specifically monitoring the wheel, the experiment was unrealistic in terms of what everyday people would do. It seems that if someone wanted their car to drive itself, they could make it do it, but there would be a series of loopholes that the owner would have to jump through to make this happen. Ultimately, any car could be subjected to a test where it makes its operation look completely unfavorable. Anything on Earth can be outsmarted, but the people doing it must know that they’re attempting to do something dangerous at their own risk. It is tough to see how Tesla could be blamed or held liable for owners “tricking” the FSD sensors, which monitor the driver’s hands on the steering wheel, along with the weight in the seat.
Tesla has never indicated that its cars can drive themselves, and Level 5 autonomy, which would make a car operate without any interventions from the driver, has been discussed by Elon Musk in the past. Musk said in late 2020 that he was “extremely confident of achieving full autonomy and releasing it to the Tesla customer base next year.” He has not commented on Tesla’s potential capabilities since then.
Ferragu, a notable Tesla bull, is one of the most realistic analysts on Wall Street when it comes to the carmaker. While he is a Tesla owner, he is also a valuable critic of the company. He is candid with his synopsis of its outlook when adjusting price targets or releasing investor notes and has dropped his price target when the automaker isn’t performing at its best. With that being said, Ferragu has experienced Autopilot for himself in his own car, and in February, he talked about its impressive performance on a 70-mile highway drive.
Did autopilot get a material update recently? I just drove 70 miles of complex highway. Zero touch, I was blown away. For the first time I thought the car behaved like a human in slip roads, densifying traffic, changing lanes, and most importantly when facing unclear situations.
— Pierre Ferragu (@p_ferragu) February 12, 2021
When it comes down to it, drivers ultimately hold the responsibility of using Autopilot and Full Self-Driving systems. Even if the system was “tricked” by Consumer Reports, their testing process was questionable, and it is likely that very few people would be willing to let their cars operate through a loophole, especially when Tesla indicates that drivers hold the ultimate responsibility of paying attention to the road and its conditions while operating their all-electric motor vehicle.
Disclosure: Joey Klender is a TSLA Shareholder.