Consumer Watchdog Applauds NHTSA Investigation of Tesla Over Autopilot Problems

Los Angeles, CA – The nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog applauded the decision by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate Tesla’s Autopilot feature and crashes related to it.
 
Consumer Watchdog has long been a critic of the rush to deploy the technology and its dangers and called for the federal government to take action to stop it. 
 

Consumer Watchdog Hacks A Tesla to Prove Dangers of Wirelessly Connected Cars

Los Angeles, CA – The nonprofit, nonpartisan Consumer  Watchdog today released a video showing how a box it built with the help of technologists could hack into the wireless connection of a Tesla and take over the screen with a “This Tesla’s Been Hacked” message.  

The video can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/RgpmJ6OhPns

U.S. Senator Says Tesla Should Change 'Autopilot' Name

Sen. Ed Markey alleges Tesla drivers are confused by the name and capabilities of Autopilot.

By David A. Wood, CARCOMPLAINTS.COM

February 4, 2020

https://www.carcomplaints.com/news/2020/tesla-should-change-autopilot-n…

The Tesla "Autopilot" name allegedly should be changed to clarify the technology isn't fully autonomous and it requires a driver to stay fully engaged with the vehicle and its surroundings.

Distracted Operator, Uber Blamed For Fatal Self-Driving Test Crash

By Keith Laing, THE DETROIT NEWS

November 20, 2019

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/mobility/2019/11/19/di…

Washington — Distraction caused by a personal cellphone call is the probable cause of a 2018 crash in which an Uber self-driving car struck and killed a pedestrian, the National Transportation Safety Board ruled Tuesday.

Will You Press Your Connected Car’s Network Kill Switch? Smart Cars Must Have It Now

By Staff Reporter, AUTO WORLD NEWS

November 4, 2019

https://www.autoworldnews.com/articles/39390/20191104/will-you-press-yo…

When cars were analogue and mechanical, all we had to fear was a face to face hold up. Any connected car is a smart car-like "Swiss Cheese" with holes waiting for a breach. The solution as recommended, by Consumer Watchdog is to slap in a "Kill Switch".

Robot Cars On Average Required A Human Takeover Every 14 Miles Driven

Los Angeles, CA — Updated reports required by the California Department of Motor Vehicles from companies testing robot cars on California public roads reveal a fleet-wide average of 1 human takeover for every 14 miles tested, according to calculations by Consumer Watchdog. The number of times a human driver had to take control of the robot car during testing varied widely between companies.  Overall 28 companies including Uber, Apple, Toyota, Waymo (Google) and GM Cruise logged 2.04 million miles in testing and reported over 145,402 disengagements.

State Reports Show That Robot Cars Aren’t Ready For Public Roads

Los Angeles—New reports required by the California Department of Motor Vehicles from companies testing robot cars on the state’s public roads show the technology is not ready to operate without a human who can take control of the car, Consumer Watchdog said today. The disengagement reports reveal how many times a human driver had to take control of the robot car during testing on public roads.

Rein In Robot Cars, Or Humans Will Lose The Right Of Way

People are fighting back against robot cars.

Self-driving cars being tested in Arizona by Waymo, a Google sister company, have been attacked by residents in at least 21 separate incidents, according to the Arizona Republic. People in the Chandler area have thrown rocks at the cars, slashed their tires and run them off the road. One man even pulled a gun on a Waymo test driver.

Consumer Watchdog Calls On Pelosi To Stop Lame-Duck Preemption of New California Privacy and Auto Safety Laws

Los Angeles, CA –  Consumer advocates today called on House Minority Leader and Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi to stop an effort by the auto industry in the lame duck session to overturn California privacy and auto safety laws governing self-driving cars.

​​​​​​​Consumer Watchdog Warns Continuing Revolving Door of Senior Government Auto Safety Officials to Robot Car Makers Undercuts Public’s Trust in Regulations 

LOS ANGELES – Consumer Watchdog today warned that an ongoing revolving door between top government auto safety officials and the manufacturers of autonomous vehicles undercuts the public’s faith in robot car regulations and government policies. 

Consumer Watchdog Joins Broad Coalition Telling Senate to Put Brakes on Flawed Robot Car Bill

LOS ANGELES – Consumer Watchdog has joined an alliance of more than 75 local, state and national organizations representing safety, law enforcement and first responders, public health, bicyclists and pedestrians, engineering, environmental and consumer groups, disability communities and families affected by motor vehicle crashes calling on the Senate to oppose a flawed autonomous vehicle bill. 

California DMV Must Release Waymo's Robot Car Insurance Details, Says Consumer Watchdog

LOS ANGELES, CA – Consumer Watchdog today called on the California Department of Motor Vehicles to release details of Waymo’s insurance coverage for the 39 driverless robot cars the former Google unit has just received permission to test in the state.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group added that the DMV’s self-certification approach to granting permits to allow testing of cars without drivers is inadequate to protect highway safety.     

California DMV’s Approval for Waymo to Test Driverless Robot Cars Is Premature

LOS ANGELES, CA – The California Department of Motor Vehicles approval today of Waymo’s application to test driverless robot cars in Santa Clara County is premature and key questions must be answered by both Waymo, Google’s driverless car unit, and the Department before any testing starts, Consumer Watchdog said.

Center for Auto Safety and Consumer Watchdog Call on DMV to Investigate Deceptive Tesla “Autopilot” marketing

Los Angeles, CA -- The Center for Auto Safety and Consumer Watchdog called on the California Department of Motor Vehicles today to investigate the dangerously misleading, deceptive marketing practices and representations made by Tesla Motors, Inc. regarding the safety and capabilities of its Autopilot feature.  

Consumer Watchdog Calls for Strong Regulations on Robot Car Testing After NTSB Crash Report Reveals Deficiencies in Uber’s Technology

LOS ANGELES, CA – Robot car developers cannot be trusted to safely test their cars on public roads without strong government regulation and oversight, said Consumer Watchdog today, after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a report revealing that the Uber car that killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona in March had its automatic emergency braking system turned off as part of its effort to test its robot technology.

As Americans Hit the Road for Memorial Day, Consumer Watchdog Poll Finds Voters Want Congress to Apply the Brakes on Driverless Cars

LOS ANGELES, CA – As Americans Hit the Road for Memorial Day driving their own cars, voters surveyed in four states have serious safety and privacy concerns when it comes to driverless car technology and want Congress to apply the brakes to robot car technology until it is proven safe, according to public opinion poll conducted for Consumer Watchdog released today.

Consumer Watchdog Backs California DMV’s Call For Robot Car Makers To Explain Robot Car Failures

LOS ANGELES, CA – Consumer Watchdog today backed the Californian Department of Motor Vehicle’s effort that in effect  told eight robot car manufacturers to stop beating around the bush and more clearly tell the public how robot cars being tested on public roads are actually performing.

Consumer Watchdog Calls on DMV to Open Robot Car Application Process to Public after Waymo Application Is Deemed Ready for Review

LOS ANGELES, CA – Consumer Watchdog today called on the Department of Motor Vehicles to open its application process for granting permits to test driverless robot cars to the public as the department confirmed an applicant had provided all the information necessary to review the application.

The department would not identify the applicant, but Consumer Watchdog learned it was Waymo, originally Google’s autonomous car unit. A DMV spokesperson would not specify a timeframe but estimated it would take at least some weeks before a final decision is made on the application.

DMV Says First Application for Testing Robot Cars Without Driver Lacked Needed Information

LOS ANGELES, CA – The California Department of Motor Vehicles confirmed today that the first application to test robot cars without a driver lacked necessary information and that a letter has been sent to the still-unidentified applicant asking for additional information.

Consumer Watchdog Says NHTSA Needs More Data Before Paving the Road For Unregulated Robot Cars

SANTA MONICA, CA --- Shortly following the death of a pedestrian killed by a robot car over the weekend in Tempe, Arizona, Consumer Watchdog called on the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to collect more data about robot cars before changing federal policies that would effectively pave the road for unregulated robot cars. 

Consumer Watchdog Joins Coalition Demanding DOT Exercise Strong Oversight of Robot Cars

SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog has joined a broad coalition representing public health and safety professionals, bicyclists, pedestrians, smart growth advocates, consumers, environmentalists, law enforcement, first responders, and individuals with disabilities in calling on the U.S. Department of Transportation to fulfill its legal obligation to ensure effective oversight for the development and deployment of autonomous vehicles.

In a letter today to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao the 26 signatories to the letter warned:

Consumer Watchdog Warns DMV Adopted GM Robot Car Rule Language Exceeds Its Authority

SANTA MONICA, CA – Language adopted from a General Motors suggestion by the California Department of Motor Vehicles in its revised proposed autonomous vehicle regulations would “let robot carmakers railroad consumers” into being liable for car crashes when the robot driver fails and the rule exceeds DMV’s authority, Consumer Watchdog warned today.

Google Must Release Robot Car Safety Record Before Using Riders as Guinea Pigs

SANTA MONICA, CA – Waymo, must publicly release key information about its robot cars’ driving records in Arizona before it turns the vehicles loose on Phoenix streets and uses passengers as human guinea pigs, Consumer Watchdog said today.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group added that the most recent information required to be filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows Waymo’s cars aren’t ready to be deployed without drivers.

Consumer Watchdog Tells California DMV: Revised Robot Car Rules Are a "License to Kill"

Revised proposed California regulations covering the deployment of autonomous vehicles amount to a "license to kill" because they provide no enforceable safety standards and new amendments would allow automakers to escape responsibility when their robot technology fails, Consumer Watchdog said today.

In comments about the amended regulations proposed in September that were just filed with the Department of Motor the nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest groups said:

NTSB Finding That Tesla’s Autopilot Played Key Role in Deadly Florida Crash Shows Need for Enforceable Federal Safety Standards

SANTA MONICA, CA – The National Transportation Safety Board’s finding that Tesla’s Autopilot shares the blame for a fatal crash with a truck in Florida last year underscores the need for Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards covering automated driver assistance technologies, Consumer Watchdog said today.

The NTSB’s findings came an hour before the Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released new autonomous vehicle guidance, “A Vision for Safety 2.0,” which explicitly ignored so-called Level 2 technologies like Autopilot.

New Federal Robot Car Guidelines Threaten Highway Safety, Consumer Watchdog Warns

SANTA MONICA, CA – The new Federal autonomous vehicle policy released today poses a threat to highway safety, Consumer Watchdog warned and the nonpartisan nonprofit group called for the enactment of enforceable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards specifically covering self-driving cars.

Dubbed a “Vision for Safety 2.0” and released by Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, the new policy emphasizes the voluntary nature of the new federal guidelines.

House “Bipartisan” Robot Car Bill Threatens Highway Safety, Consumer Watchdog Warns

SANTA MONICA, CA -- A bill covering autonomous vehicles that the House of Representatives rushed to pass today threatens highway safety and leaves a regulatory void rather than enacting necessary protections, Consumer Watchdog warned today.

The bill, passed on a voice vote, under rules to expedite consideration, was being touted in some quarters as an example of new-found Congressional bipartisanship.

“Bipartisanship is worthless when it produces a dangerous bill,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director.

Consumer Watchdog Backs Banning Robot Cars in Chicago Until Feds Act on Safety Regulations

SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog today backed a proposed city ordinance that would ban self-driving robot cars from the streets of Chicago unless the federal government enacts enforceable safety standards for autonomous vehicles.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group added that testing autonomous vehicles would be appropriate if adequate safeguards were in place, including a trained human test driver behind a steering wheel and brake pedal.