Tesla cars lose hands to fight congestion

Nearly two weeks after introducing a new Autopilot feature that allowed drivers to use their hands to steer the car at highway speeds, Tesla has seen at least three owner complaints. In one case,…

Tesla cars lose hands to fight congestion

Nearly two weeks after introducing a new Autopilot feature that allowed drivers to use their hands to steer the car at highway speeds, Tesla has seen at least three owner complaints.

In one case, a driver was engaged in a “Traffic Aware Cruise Control” feature when she noticed that her car was traveling at 90 miles per hour on a 25-mile stretch of highway.

“All I could see on the road is a pinkish-purple blur,” the woman’s husband posted on the company’s website.

The autopilot mode, which Tesla introduced earlier this year, allows drivers to remain engaged but not distracted. In this instance, the car was on autopilot and not reading up ahead or doing anything else that it wasn’t supposed to.

The number of drivers complaining to Tesla about the feature hasn’t quite matched the number of people who’ve complained about features that the company rolled out later in the year. For example, last month, the company released the Summon feature, which allows the car to autonomously move itself out of the driver’s garage when it approaches a desired destination.

Other technical issues have triggered more complaints this year.

Two people wrote about their experiences getting the Summon feature to work after it apparently mistook their home and garage addresses, posting videos and complaints.

Tesla’s attempt to respond to the complaints goes beyond a lame attempt to respond on social media

In a letter to Tesla owners, the company offered 10 free hours of service on the issues that were raised, which would include certain diagnostic work and roadside assistance.

But it’s unclear whether it will change a process that has seen the company force drivers to reschedule service appointments to comply with a reworked invoice format.

According to Consumers Union, an organization that published a new report on Tesla’s safety record in May, the company has shifted liability from itself to drivers in the event of a crash, even though it’s unclear what happens in these cases.

“Even if you have good insurance, a vehicle owner is still liable for losses like medical expenses and other claims,” said Jake Fisher, head of the automotive testing center at Consumer Reports.

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