Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving advanced driver assistance systems didn’t pass the test.
Consumer Reports looked at five driver monitoring systems and found that only two of them passed muster. The consumer guide’s findings came out Thursday and only gave points to Ford’s BlueCruise and General Motors’ Super Cruise hands-free driving systems, available in new cars like the Mustang Mach-E and Chevy Bolt EUV. Both track driver attention while the car takes over lane centering, acceleration, and braking at highway speeds. Drivers don’t have to touch the steering wheel while automated driving is on.
During CR testing on a closed course, the publication found that BMW, Ford, GM, Tesla, and Subaru all have driver monitoring to detect head and eye position, sometimes with infrared cameras. But only Ford and GM actually stopped the driver from using automated systems if they looked away for too long.
Here’s how Tesla’s Autopilot system let a driver carry on even when they were blatantly looking down at their phone:
Tesla’s driver assistance system is already under investigation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That hasn’t stopped the EV company from releasing a beta version called Full Self-Driving, or FSD, that can be turned on for city driving — not just on highways. Despite the name, the car is not autonomous and still requires an attentive driver.
New for this year, CR will give points on driver monitoring systems, which will be included in calculations for its annual Auto Top Picks. Those ratings will come out on Feb. 17. Next year, CR will deduct points for inadequate driver monitoring systems. But for now, only Ford and GM will get credit for making a safe-enough system.