Consumer Watchdog Slams Elon Musk, Demands Tesla Pull the Plug on Autopilot

Tesla HQ

America’s highest profile consumer advocacy group is calling out Tesla CEO Elon Musk for waiting a month to disclose the prospective risk posed to owners by the company’s Autopilot technologies.

In a letter to Musk, Consumer Watchdog demands that Tesla sideline its Autopilot program till it can be established protected, criticizes the CEO for side-stepping blame in numerous crashes, and accuses him of placing the public at danger.

Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system is continually updated based on owner feedback. The company’s tradition of “beta testing” its products was called out by safety advocates right after it was revealed on June 30 that Autopilot played a role in a fatal May possibly 7 crash on a Florida highway.

For Consumer Watchdog, founded in 1985 with assist from automobile safety advocate Ralph Nader, the particulars of the crash are proof of a hazardous Autopilot flaw.

“An autopilot whose sensors can’t distinguish among the side of a white truck and a vibrant sky simply is not prepared to be deployed on public roads,” reads the letter, signed by president Jamie Court and two executives. “Tesla must immediately disable the autopilot feature on all your cars until it can be confirmed to be secure. At a minimum, autopilot have to be disabled till the total benefits of NHTSA’s investigation are released.”

Tesla’s admission of the crash coincided with the National Highway Site visitors Safety Administration opening an investigation into the incident. Since then, the NHTSA launched another investigation into the July 1 rollover crash of a Model X in Pennsylvania. That automobile was allegedly driving in Autopilot mode at the time.

The automaker claims it informed the NHTSA of the Could 7 crash on Could 16, and sent an investigator to examine the wreckage on May possibly 18. The automaker’s investigation was completed during the final week of Could.

In its letter to Musk, Customer Watchdog mentions Tesla’s “inexplicable delay” in notifying owners of the crash, calling the month-extended gap “inexcusable.” The group goes on to say that beta testing shouldn’t be used on merchandise that could lead to fatal consequences for the user, and accuses Tesla of making use of its shoppers as “guinea pigs.”

“You want to have it each ways with autopilot,” the letter reads. “On the 1 hand you extoll the supposed virtues of autopilot, making the impression that, once engaged, it is self-enough. Your customers are lulled into believing their automobile is protected to be left to do the driving itself. On the other hand you walk back any guarantee of safety, saying autopilot is still in Beta mode and drivers have to pay attention all the time.”

Statements created by Musk and the “Tesla Team” in the aftermath of the current crashes and a rear-finish collision last November quantity to “victim blaming,” the group stated. It demands that Autopilot only return when it can be confirmed protected, with a pledge from Tesla to be liable if any faults take place when the method is activated.

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Audi Demands Porsche’s Support for the R6


Despite sharing the comfort of a corporate umbrella, it appears that two standoffish German luxury tends to make are now pushing the beds together.

According to the German publication Autobild (through Autoguide), Audi is tapping Porsche’s expertise to create a new efficiency automobile, designed to occupy the vast gap in between the TT and R8 supercar.

Carrying the R6 moniker, which Audi trademarked in 2012 to created sure people kept their paws off it, the midrange sports vehicle is getting developed by a group that draws experience from both brands. The vehicle would ride atop a mid-engined Porsche Cayman/Boxster platform.

Creating a new platform for a single car would be a pricey affair for Audi, which explains the interest in Porsche.

Audi does not want a badge-engineered knockoff, so there’s significantly speculation more than what the end product would appear like. Autobild assumes that all-wheel drive and an Audi engine will be needed to differentiate the R6 from its Porsche brethren, on a mechanical level, at least.

Porsche has announced a line of four-cylinder engines for its smaller sized offerings, but those are horizontally-opposed mills (flat fours), so there’s a query of whether an Audi engine could fit in a Boxster-primarily based car. Though the report mentions a turbocharged 5-cylinder possibility, the dimensions of the vehicle will figure out if the R6 — if built — becomes a fast 5.

Slant Five, possibly?

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Petition Demands That Sergio Spin Off Jeep in Order to Save It

Jeep Wranglers Coming Down The Line In Toledo

A group of Jeep fans desires Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne to make a Sophie’s Selection-style selection to save their beloved offroader.

To steer clear of the destruction of the storied brand at the hands of its parent organization, FCA must cast it loose, the group states in a strongly-worded petition.

“As owners and fans of Jeep vehicles, we are calling on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to separate Jeep from FCA’s steady of failing brands and debt,” the petition states. “We urge FCA to execute a spinoff to save Jeep.”

The group claims the sturdy-performing Jeep has FCA’s 6 billion euro debt hanging more than its head like a guillotine, whilst its association with owner Fiat risks undermining the brand’s reputation for rugged high quality. By spinning off the brand like FCA did with Ferrari, Jeep could survive as an independent, they claim.

The group goes on to say that although Jeep (like Ram) is a single of FCA’s chief funds makers, its sales performance is being taken for granted by Marchionne, who is using the brand as a money cow to lessen his company’s debt load.

“FCA’s strategy is not to honor the Jeep brand, but to cannibalize it,” they claim.

The petition was started by Michael Turk, a Virginia resident and life-extended Jeep aficionado. Turk’s first car was a 1985 CJ7, and he’s considering that bought two a lot more Wranglers, with a 1953 CJ-3B project car awaiting restoration.

In an e mail to TTAC, he acknowledged the extreme unlikeliness of his petition swaying the head of FCA into cutting loose one of his top income generators. Turk sees it just as giving a voice to the “undercurrent of concern” for the brand among Jeep loyalists.

“I began the petition since I am concerned that the headwinds for FCA spell disaster for Jeep,” he stated, adding that the troubles afflicting the brand concerns a lot more than just corporate debt.

“The coming increases in emissions requirements spell problems for a business that sees most of its income from light trucks and SUVs. Unless they make important changes (and its not clear they have the capital to do so) the stream of money from Jeep sales may possibly soon run quick and that will leave couple of very good choices for the brand.”

Turk said he’d like to see the petition turn out to be a “rallying point” for Jeep lovers, and hopes it compels FCA executives to commence seeing its customers as people, not marketplace share.

TTAC reached out to Jeep public relations officials about the petition, who chose not to comment on the matter.

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