SANTA MONICA, Calif. (FOX 11) - “Tesla is in a situation where it's using its customers as human guinea pigs,” John M. Simpson with Santa Monica based Consumer Watchdog said Friday.
The group is demanding Tesla make safety changes after a handful of crashes possibly linked to the vehicles autopilot system.
“We’ve sent a letter to the chairman Elon Musk saying he should disable it on all the vehicles immediately until it can be shown to be safe,” Simpson said.
The most recent accident happened in Pennsylvania when a Model X car hit a guardrail and overturned.
Feds are also investigating a crash that killed 40-year-old Joshua Brown when his Tesla Model S in autopilot mode collided with a truck.
Videos on Brown’s YouTube page show the driver often had his hand off the wheel, which Tesla doesn’t advise.
The automaker has said it’s autopilot mode is there to assist drivers, not take over as an autonomous vehicle.
We met a Tesla owner who said he drives his in autopilot almost always.
“There are a lot of responsible people that do use the autopilot and it works really well,” he said. “It does help me with my commute quite a bit, but you do have to be aware of your surroundings at all times while using it.”
Autopilot is an added feature on Tesla models, but with it’s rise in popularity Consumer Watchdog also wants the automaker to insure liability in a crash.
“The hype around the whole thing has lulled people into a situation where they trust the technology much more than they should,” Simpson said.
As of Friday afternoon, Consumer Watchdog said Tesla has not responded to its request to disable the autopilot feature in vehicles.
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