Tesla’s autopilot may have the best performance, capability, and ease of use in Consumer Reports’ recent ranking of active driving assistance systems, but it is nonetheless “a distant second” after the Super Cruise of. GM. This was according to the test organization Wednesday.
The findings echo the findings of Consumer Reports in its first ranking of active driving assistance systems in 2018, which also ended with GM Super Cruise taking # 1 and Tesla Autopilot # 2. This time around, the test body tested 17 systems from different car manufacturers, up from four evaluated in 2018. Needless to say, the results were quite interesting.
Each of the active driving assistance systems in this year’s test was evaluated against the following parameters: capacity and performance, maintenance of driver engagement, ease of use, clear use in safety and unresponsiveness of the driver. Tesla’s autopilot achieved two of those metrics, specifically capacity and performance as well as ease of use. The autopilot got an impressive score of 9/10 in capacity and performance and a 7/10 in ease of use.
According to Consumer Reports, Autopilot performed best among the 17 systems tested in its lane-keeping assist tests. Autopilot was also considered the best in terms of ease of use. Kelly Funkhouser, responsible for connected and automated vehicle testing at CR, noted that systems that score well in terms of usability typically require uncomplicated feedback from drivers. “One of the last things you want in a system that’s supposed to help the driver is to make it too complicated,” Funkhouser said.
Unfortunately for Tesla, Autopilot received a poor rating from Consumer Reports for the Keeping the Driver Engaged metric. For this metric, Tesla’s driver assistance system scored a paltry 3/10 due to Autopilot’s alleged lack of driver monitoring systems. In contrast, GM’s Super Cruise, the top-ranked system in this metric with a score of 7/10, was praised for its camera driver surveillance system which uses eye tracking technology.
Super Cruise was also the top-ranked system with a score of 8/10 in the Clear When Safe to Use metric, as the system could only be used in areas where the driver assistance suite could operate safely. “Cadillac stood out in this category because Super Cruise can only be used on pre-mapped and split highways. In addition, Super Cruise will even warn the driver in advance of the next lane meltdown or a complex situation requiring special attention, ”noted Consumer Reports.
Tesla Autopilot scored 2/10 in Clear When Safe to Use because the system is accessible in areas that are not low risk. “Active driving assistance systems should only be able to be activated in low-risk driving environments, free of pedestrians and difficult situations, such as intersections and complicated traffic patterns,” said Funkhouser.
Tesla Autopilot received a score of 6/10 for the Insensitive Driver metric from Consumer Reports. This metric, as reported by the test organization, rates systems based on their ability to operate vehicles safely in the event the driver falls asleep or encounters a medical emergency. The systems were evaluated based on their escalation process for warnings, direction control and speed control.
Overall, GM Super Cruise got a total score of 69 from the test organization, while Tesla Autopilot got a total score of 57. Close behind Ford Co-Pilot 360 at 52 and Audi Pre Sense at 48 years old. Funkhouser, for its part, noted that Super Cruise’s driver monitoring system remains a difference factor. “Even with new systems from many automakers, Super Cruise still comes out on top with the infrared camera that ensures the driver’s eyes are looking towards the roadway,” said the responsible for connected and automated vehicle testing.
Consumer Reports’ discussion of its recent ranking of active driver assistance suites can be viewed here.