Experts Say Consumer Reports Dangerously Misleads ConsumersJuly 20th, 2021
Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt. It is a weapon of the media to manipulate a population to behave emotionally.
The tactic is so commonly used against Tesla, who gives media $0 in ads, that the Tesla community has abbreviated it to FUD.
In this article we are going to look at some of the FUD experts in the Tesla community and examine what they are saying about the most recent article released by Consumer Reports entitled Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving’ Beta Software Used on Public Roads Lacks Safeguards.
After pointing out that the Ford Foundation is listed first among the top "Philanthropic Partners"
Steven Mark Ryan, a FUD fighting veteran and Tesla FUD Expert dissects every single argument made in this article in his video "Tesla’s #1 ENEMY Tries To Kill Life Saving FSD Technology"
"... given the fact that these are the same idiots who literally showed people how to defeat Tesla's driver monitoring safety systems, do illegal stuff and put others at risk on the road. You really think Tesla is going to put this Beta software in the hands of these reckless clowns? Zero chance."
Steven comments regarding Consumer Reports comment about wanting to test this system themselves.
This raises a great point. Consumer Reports has not tested FSD Beta 9. They do not have access to it. Who does? Tesla employees, SpaceX employees and a small number of members in Tesla's "Early Access Program".
Consumer Reports does not have first hand knowledge of this software. But that doesn't stop them from reviewing it.
The video Steven was referring to, where Consumer Reports literally shows Consumer Reports being completely irresponsible in teaching people to illegally thwart Tesla's safety features can be found in this article. They go to extreme lengths of manufacturing a weighted device. Belting their seat belt while sitting on top of it. Engage auto pilot and then shift out of the drivers seat. None of these things would be easily accidentally done. And to be in a driving vehicle, moving around from one seat to another is not wearing your seat belt which is against the law.
So this isn't the first time Consumer Reports has created a FUD piece against Tesla. Nor is it the second. Funnily enough, Tesla fixed the slow braking within days with an over the air software update.
But Consumer Reports has been extremely critical over Tesla and their driver monitoring features. It is their opinion that drivers attentiveness should be monitored. While Tesla does do this, with ensuring the driver is actively touching the wheel, they slam Tesla for not having cameras monitoring the driver at all times. Spoiler alert, Tesla do monitor drivers with the interior camera now.
But without access to the Tesla FSD Beta 9 software, Consumer Reports simply makes an ass out of you and me assuming that Tesla has not progressed at all. And they proceed to release an uninformed article based on nobody's opinion that has actually experienced Beta 9 in real life.
Are you fine with driving along or cycling in the streets or being a pedestrian on a sidewalk? Well you shouldn't be because:
according to Bryan Reimer, a professor at MIT and founder of the Advanced Vehicle Technology (AVT) consortium, a group that researches vehicle automation, told CR that “while drivers may have some awareness of the increased risk that they are assuming, other road users—drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, etc.—are unaware that they are in the presence of a test vehicle and have not consented to take on this risk.”
Is Tesla even taking the right approach to FSD? Well, as Consumer Reports points out:
Tesla’s approach stands in contrast to other companies developing self-driving car technology, such as Argo AI, Cruise, and Waymo. We talked to those companies for this article, and they told us that they limit their software tests to private tracks and/or use trained safety drivers as monitors. The representatives we interviewed from these companies each declined to directly address our questions about Tesla and would speak about only their own research programs. Tesla did not respond to CR requests for comment for this article.
Ok. So Tesla writes software over the span of 4 years. But... it should never go beyond a test track? It should never see real world conditions? That doesn't make any sense. Eventually you need to test real world conditions right? So in doing this, you can only use "trained safety drivers". What qualifies somebody to be a "trained safety driver" exactly? Do Tesla owners, who have years of experience and intimate familiarity with their own vehicle (and software capabilities) not qualify? Is Consumer Reports stating that this software needs to be contained to only Tesla employees that have passed rigorous driver training? Consumer Reports is so mind-boggling idiotic here. If the goal is to get millions of these cars driving themselves, then naturally after they cannot fail on a test track, and after employees have been using this software for years, giving the software to a handful of people who Tesla trusts to be vigilant is the only logical next step. They criticize Tesla for being progressive and they offer the solution to not be progressive at all. Now if that isn't an article that is rooting for a company to fail, I don't know what is.
Is Tesla doing all they can to keep people safe? Well, if you didn't know that Tesla had introduced additional driving monitoring systems to ensure drivers are both active on the wheel AND paying attention to the road, then you might think this is a valid statement:
Fisher and others believe that Tesla should at the very least be monitoring drivers in real time to ensure that they’re paying attention while using new software. For example, Fisher says the updated software has “impressive” onscreen graphics, but he’s worried that even a brief glance by the driver at the display might be too long to prevent the system from crashing into a car or pedestrian. Some new Tesla vehicles come with real-time driver monitoring cameras enabled, although CR’s experts have raised questions about their effectiveness.
If Tesla was failing to monitor drivers, then how would they have revoked some FSD Beta access? Consumer Reports is out of touch. If you make assumptions about a company and then proceed to create a hit piece on that company with the crux of your arguments based on those assumptions and go to such lengths to get experts to agree with your assumptions, maybe it makes sense to double check those assumptions before releasing the article so you don't degrade your publication's reputation.
Let's look at some addtional FUD expert's have to say:
In conclusion, this entire article completely falls apart if Tesla is using the camera for driver monitoring. While Tesla hasn't come out with the claim that they are, there is evidence that they have this feature and since they have revoked this feature, the driver camera monitoring is active. And since they still use the wheel sensitivity as well, they are being doubly vigilant about making sure drivers are paying attention to the road.
They tout Tesla's competitors as being much safer. But let's be honest, all self driving vehicles are test vehicles at this stage. Waymo has cars driving around with nobody in the drivers seat. Is that better? Do they make mistakes? Yes they do. But Waymo driving test cars around with nobody in the driver seat is way safer. Driver monitoring need not apply. They aren't putting people in danger because... pedestrians can identify test vehicles by the obtrusive LiDARs hanging off of it?
Consumer Reports assumes Tesla has skipped multiple steps in testing and jumped right to giving it to consumers. They propose the ludicrous solution to contain this software forever confining it to test tracks and professional safety drivers. Anything beyond that I guess is fair game for FUD.
Software Developer always striving to be better. Learn from others' mistakes, learn by doing, fail fast, maximize productivity, and really think hard about good defaults. Computer developers have the power to add an entire infinite dimension with a single Int (or maybe BigInt). The least we can do with that power is be creative.