Autopilot makes the car less safe according to Euro NCAP

Euro NCAP tested the Tesla Model 3 with the new criteria for driver assistance. While the assistance and safety ratings are the best of any brand, the driver engagement rating is the worst. The rating agency explains that the driver lacks attention because he trusts Autopilot too much.

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The incredible stories of traffic accidents involving Autopilot, Tesla’s driver assistance system, are growing. They can sometimes make you smile. In August, we reported in our columns about this accident caused by a Tesla Model S whose driver was just watching a movie on the on-board computer screen. At the end of 2019, we published an article about an accident caused by a Model 3 with Autopilot activated. The handler was calming his dog and was not looking at the road. And that’s not to mention all his stories where a driver falls asleep at the wheel when Autopilot has taken charge of the situation.

Read also – Tesla Autopilot: flashed at 150 km / h the driver was taking a nap!

Of course, Autopilot was able to avoid many accidents as well, including this one where a car was going against the flow on the highway. If the two vehicles had collided, there would certainly have been serious injuries and even deaths. Autopilot saves lives, no doubt. However, it is clear that the driver, assisted almost 100% on the road by this ultra-sophisticated driver assistance system, is more inclined to let go. To lack attention. And that’s what I blame Euro NCAP, the automotive test specialist dedicated to safety, to the Tesla Model 3.

A very bad mark in “driver engagement”

The institute has indeed returned a mixed verdict on the most affordable car of the American manufacturer. Even paradoxical. Indeed, the car is rated 2 out of 4 (a very average rating), but it also obtains the best ratings in two of the three areas tested: maintaining security (95%, almost perfect) and driving assistance (91.7%). No other car tested by Euro NCAP achieves better marks. But Euro NCAP severely notes “ driver engagement “.

What is driver engagement? This includes several points: information provided to the driver, monitoring of the system and the driver (check if he does not fall asleep for example), as well as the interaction with the driver. On this last point, the Tesla Model 3 does not get any points. Why ? Because the institute believes that Autopilot promotes automatic handling of the car, without human interaction. Which would lead to the disengagement of the driver. On the driver’s engagement, the Tesla Model 3 therefore obtains the mediocre rating of 36%. That is less points than the worst cars in this area, such as the Renault Clio (69%) or the Nissan Juke (70%) whose marks are almost twice as high as those of the Model 3.

Omnipresent autopilot, the driver completely disengaged

In these comments, Europ NCAP confirms the excellence of the technologies integrated into Model 3 to prevent accidents and driving errors: driving speed, traffic lane, steering wheel direction, blind spots, safety distances, all of this is measured. , scrutinized and verified (with a few small flaws of no great importance). But the institute explains that Autopilot (because that’s what it’s all about, not Model 3 in particular) promotes driver disengagement (which brings us to the situations we talked about in the introduction). And that’s what is sanctioned here. Euro NCAP also believes that the driver becomes too dependent on Autopilot, while the system is not that autonomous.

Euro NCAP would therefore prefer Autopilot to be more of a driving assistance system and not of driver assistance. Understand that the system should support him to make the right decisions and not replace him. Because, by replacing him, the driver sees himself more and more as a simple passenger. Which leads to the incredible situations seen previously. Recall that Tesla’s official speech goes in the same direction as Euro NCAP: Autopilot is an assistance system and not an autonomous system (at least not yet). It now remains to convince its customers of this as well.

Source: Euro NCAP

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