CR Blasts Tesla Automated Lane Change Feature

A new automated lane-change feature in Tesla Inc.’s Autopilot system can make dangerous moves that threaten the safety of other motorists, Consumer Reports says.

The magazine condemns Tesla for releasing “increasingly automated driving systems that aren’t vetted properly.”

Tesla cars have a manual feature that will automatically change to another lane when the driver uses the turn signal lever. The vehicles will perform the same maneuver on their own as they approach a slower vehicle ahead when the driver switches to Tesla’s new “navigate on Autopilot” mode.

But CR testers say cars operating in the latter mode may cut too close in front of other cars or pass slower traffic on the right rather than the left. In some cases, testers say, the vehicle may pull out to pass but fail to return to the original lane after doing so. Many states consider all three maneuvers illegal.

CR also warns that the system also may make dangerous moves because it doesn’t appear to react to a leading car’s brake lights or turn signals.

Tesla advises drivers that activating the navigate-on-Autopilot system does not make their car self-driving, so they should remain in control at all times. CR auto testing chief Jake Fisher underscores that advice, warning that drivers “constantly have to be one step ahead” of the system to avoid mishaps.