Tesla's Autopilot falls in Consumer Reports rankings

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Tesla's Autopilot falls in Consumer Reports rankings

Consumer Reports said Wednesday that Tesla's advanced driver assistance system Autopilot fell in a ranking of 12 major systems.

Ford Motor's BlueCruise was the first of 12 systems tested by Consumer Reports, a nonprofit organization that evaluates products and services, followed by General Motors' Cadillac Super Cruise and Mercedes-Benz Driver Assistance.

The group said that Tesla, which was second in Consumer Reports' ratings in 2020 behind Super Cruise, fell to seventh. The electric vehicle maker didn't respond to a request for comment.

The group said that Tesla hasn't changed Autopilot's basic functions, instead adding more features to it.

After all that time, Autopilot still doesn't allow collaborative steering and doesn't have an effective driver monitoring system, said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports Auto Testing director.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA is investigating 830,000 Tesla vehicles with Autopilot after a series of crashes with parked emergency vehicles.

NHTSA is looking into whether Tesla vehicles are paying attention to drivers. In June, the agency said evidence showed that drivers in most crashes with emergency vehicles under review had complied with Tesla's alert strategy that seeks to compel driver attention, raising questions about its effectiveness.

NHTSA Acting Administrator Ann Carlson said earlier this month that the agency was working really fast on its Autopilot probe. She said that we're moving as quickly as we can, but we also want to make sure we have all the information we need.

In 2020, the National Transportation Safety Board criticized Tesla's ineffective monitoring of driver engagement after a fatal Autopilot crash in 2018.

Autopilot allows cars to steer, accelerate and brake without driver intervention, but Tesla says the feature requires active driver supervision and does not make the vehicle autonomous. NHTSA has opened more than three dozen Tesla special crash investigations, where advanced systems, including Autopilot, were suspected of being used in 19 crash deaths reported.