Tesla’s Full Self-Driving suite faces yet another critic in Ralph Nader, an Independent political activist who ran for President on four occasions.
Nader released a statement on Wednesday, calling for federal regulators to “act immediately to prevent the growing deaths and injuries from Tesla manslaughtering crashes with this technology.”
“Tesla’s major deployment of so-called Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology is one of the most dangerous and irresponsible actions by a car company in decades,” the statement said. “Tesla should have never put this technology in its vehicles. Now over 100,000 Tesla owners are currently using technology that research shows malfunctions every eight minutes.”
Ralph Nader is calling on NHTSA to recall Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” feature, calling it “one of the most dangerous and irresponsible actions by a car company in decades” pic.twitter.com/vzBNVhkfIk
— Andrew J. Hawkins 🚇🚌🚲🛴 (@andyjayhawk) August 10, 2022
Teslarati reached out to Nader for clarification or access to this study but did not receive an immediate response.
Tesla’s Full Self-Driving suite has come under fire by numerous agencies in the past, including criticism from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
On July 28, the State’s DMV said that both Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving suites were falsely advertised. “Instead of simply identifying product or brand names, these ‘Autopilot’ and ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ labels and descriptions represent that vehicles equipped with the ADAS features will operate as an autonomous vehicle, but vehicles equipped with those ADAS features could not at the time of those advertisements, and cannot now, operate as autonomous vehicles,” the DMV said in the filings.
Tesla has fifteen days to respond to the DMV.
Nader supports the abolishment of Tesla’s FSD suite, according to his statement, which reads:
“NHTSA must use its safety recall authority to order that the FSD technology be removed in every Tesla.”
Incidents involving Teslas usually incite the idea from some media that Autopilot or FSD were involved due to the irresponsible nature of use by drivers who do not follow Tesla’s explicit directions for use or a basic misinterpretation of the vehicle’s capabilities. The company maintains that drivers must keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, remaining vigilant in case a takeover is needed.
On the Autopilot and Full Self-Driving section of its website under Frequently Asked Questions, Tesla responds to, “Do I still need to pay attention while using Autopilot?:”
“Yes. Autopilot is a hands-on driver assistance system that is intended to be used only with a fully attentive driver. It does not turn a Tesla into a self-driving car nor does it make a car autonomous.
Before enabling Autopilot, you must agree to “keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times” and to always “maintain control and responsibility for your car.” Once engaged, Autopilot will also deliver an escalating series of visual and audio warnings, reminding you to place your hands on the wheel if insufficient torque is applied. If you repeatedly ignore these warnings, you will be locked out from using Autopilot during that trip.
You can override any of Autopilot’s features at any time by steering, applying the brakes, or using the cruise control stalk to deactivate.”
Tesla has never said its vehicles are capable of fully-autonomous driving, which would allow the operator to fall asleep or play video games while the car is in operation. No automaker has accomplished this feat yet, although several startups are coming close. Cruise, a GM self-driving unit, received the first-ever permit to give driverless rides in a portion of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Nader ended his statement with:
“Together, we need to send an urgent message to the casualty-minded regulators that Americans must not be test dummies for a powerful, high-profile corporation and its celebrity CEO. No one is above the laws of manslaughter.”
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