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Ralph Nader says Tesla self-driving technology “dangerous and irresponsible”

by Steven Cole Smith
12 August 2022 2 min read
Ralph Nader says Tesla self-driving technology “dangerous and irresponsible”
Photo: Bradley E. Clift for The Washington Post via Getty

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader has targeted Tesla’s Full Self-Driving technology, calling  it “one of the most dangerous and irresponsible actions by a car company in decades,” and calling for a federal recall in the US to have the technology “removed in every Tesla.”

“Tesla should never have put this technology in its vehicles. Now over 100,000 Tesla owners are currently using technology that research shows malfunctions every eight minutes,” Nader said in a statement on his website, Nader.org.

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The 86-year-old activist said he is “calling on federal regulators to act immediately to prevent the growing deaths and injuries from Tesla “manslaughtering” crashes with this technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the authority to act swiftly to prevent such disasters. NHTSA has been investigating Tesla and its Full Self-Driving technology for several years. NHTSA has the power to issue a safety recall authority to order that the FSD technology be removed from every Tesla.

Nader’s intervention came after claims surfaced that Tesla’s Full Self-Driving technology failed to detect a child crossing the road in front of a Tesla Model 3 using current FSD software, during independent testing. The test was performed by The Dawn Project, an organisation founded by software entrepreneur Dan O’Dowd, a critic of Tesla boss Elon Musk and the car maker’s claims surrounding FSD safety.

“This nation should not allow this malfunctioning software which Tesla itself warns may do the ‘wrong thing at the worst time’ on the same streets where children walk to school,” continued Nader. “Together we need to send an urgent message to the casualty-minded regulators that Americans must not be test dummies for a powerful, high-profile corporation and its celebrity CEO. No one is above the laws of manslaughter.”

Nader has been an outspoken critic of the automotive industry since his book, Unsafe at Any Speed The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile, was released in 1965. (Nader made specific claims against the safety of the Chevrolet Corvair, which we put to the test.) Since then he has become a controversial, at times almost cartoonish advocate for safety in multiple arenas, culminating with a run for the US Presidency.

Car manufacturers reported nearly 400 crashes of vehicles with partially automated driver-assist systems, including 273 involving Teslas, according to statistics released in June by US safety regulators, reports the Associated Press.

Automakers reported crashes from July of last year to May, 2022, under a mandate from NHTSA, which is examining such crashes broadly for the first time.

“As we gather more data, NHTSA will be able to better identify any emerging risks or trends and learn more about how these technologies are performing in the real world,” said Steven Cliff, the agency’s administrator. NHTSA opened a formal investigation into Tesla Autopilot in August 2021.

Tesla, which no longer has a formal press office or PR department, has not responded to the Nader statement.

Via Hagerty US

Read more

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Comments

  • John Roberts says:

    I quite agree.
    Not safe at all.
    Imagine the carnage if associated with a Tesla truck…..

  • Christopher says:

    I’m no fan but it will probably become safe – but only if all humans drivers are banned, which isn’t going to happen. I just can’t see how the two can mix.
    What I can see is autonomous VTOL eTaxis. Few worry about a plane being on autopilot and in the air, far greater separation is possible.
    Surely this is where the boffins need to focus?

  • kenneth clarke says:

    If you don’t want to drive, Get on a bus taxi or train! end that stupidity.

  • Ed+Hosford says:

    The only safe “safe driving “technology already exists its called ” A Railway “

  • Peter+Stuart+law says:

    What’s next, sleep while drive, arrive fresh and relaxed, perhaps one day a central control monitoring system like air traffic control, not now.

  • MR+TREVOR+WILLARD says:

    Totally agree that driverless technology should be banned until ‘all’ vehicles can be driverless and have the appropriate software to deal with ‘any’ obstacle that may present itself.
    It’s very interesting and arrogant that Tesla, no longer has a formal press office or PR department?

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