Reporter disclosed that Tesla cars can drive with nobody in the driver’s seat

Consumer Reports said Thursday it took a 2020 Tesla Model Y on a closed test track to see if the electric vehicle could operate on Autopilot, Tesla’s automated driving system, with nobody in the driver’s seat. The product-testing organization found it could “easily get the car to drive even with no one in the driver’s seat.”

Consumer Reports said it tricked Tesla’s system by putting a weighted chain on the wheel and keeping the seat belt buckled on the driver’s seat.

The test follows a fatal 2019 Model S crash in Spring, Texas, on Saturday that elicited two federal investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Police said, after a preliminary investigation, that they believe nobody was in the driver’s seat of the Tesla at the time of the crash.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Monday said in a tweet: “Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled & this car did not purchase FSD. Moreover, standard Autopilot would require lane lines to turn on, which this street did not have not

Following Musk’s tweet, Texas police planned to serve search warrants on Tesla in order to secure data from the crash, Reuters reported.

In a statement on Thursday, Consumer Reports’ senior director of auto testing, Jake Fisher, said: “In our test, the system not only failed to make sure the driver was paying attention — it couldn’t even tell if there was a driver there at all.”

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