Consumer Reports said its engineers "easily tricked" a Tesla (TSLA) - Get Report 2020 Model Y to drive on Autopilot, the electric vehicle maker's driver assistance feature, without anyone in the driver’s seat.
The magazine pointed out this was “a scenario that would present extreme danger if it were repeated on public roads.”
Consumer Reports said, “Over several trips across our half-mile closed test track, our Model Y automatically steered along painted lane lines, but the system did not send out a warning or indicate in any way that the driver’s seat was empty.”
Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ senior director of auto testing, said in a statement Thursday that in "our evaluation, the system not only failed to make sure the driver was paying attention, but it also couldn’t tell if there was a driver there at all.
“Tesla is falling behind other automakers like GM (GM) - Get Report and Ford (F) - Get Report that, on models with advanced driver assist systems, use technology to make sure the driver is looking at the road.”
Transport officials have begun probing a deadly weekend crash involving a Tesla vehicle that reports said occurred while there was no driver at the wheel.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation followed multiple media reports that suggested the weekend incident in involving a Tesla Model S sedan, which took the lives of two passengers following a fiery crash outside of Houston, occurred while the car was operating under autopilot.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted earlier this week that "Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled & this car did not purchase FSD."
Tesla traded Thursday at $737.45, down 0.9%. It has jumped 75% over the past six months amid enthusiasm for electric cars, but has sunk 13% over the past three months amid concern it was overvalued.
TheStreet's Jim Cramer discussed Tesla earlier this week.