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Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Autopilot Bubble Popped at Consumer Reports

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Autopilot Display

Tesla Motors Inc has upended the auto industry with the release of its autopilot update on the Model S. The autopilot mode allows Tesla’s Model S to drive itself when the conditions are right on the highway. Cyberspace is already filled with reviews and videos about some of the cool, and outright crazy, things that Model S drivers were doing once autopilot was engaged.

The one area where Tesla’s self-driving tech really shined was the video named “Tesla autopilot saves the day” on YouTube – it has more than 1.5M views already. The owner of the video talked on how he was driving at 45 miles per hour, how another driver made an ill-advised turn, and how autopilot applied the brakes to avoid a collision with the car. In his words, “was travelling a little under 45 mph… I did not touch the brake. Car did all the work.”

Consumer Report hits Tesla Motors ego

The video has turned out to be fodder for the Tesla Motors fan base as it shows that Elon Musk is making a tech that really can change people’s lives. Even the critics don’t know how to refute autopilot and they’ve been forced to take up issues with regulations and laws about autonomous driving.

Consumer Reports is out again to deflate Tesla’s ego as it seeks to set the record straight about the video claiming that autopilot stopped the car. Consumer Report holds that it was actually the Autobrake feature in the Tesla Motors ‘s Model S and not the autopilot feature that stopped the car in the video. Consumer Reports maintains that most modern cars are equipped with a system called forward-collision warning that uses Autobrake to stop cars when crashes are imminent.

Jeff Bartlestt says, “the reality is that forward-collision warning with automatic braking is the hero—a feature that many brands offer across the price spectrum.” He goes on to say that the Autobrake feature is not exclusive to Tesla because it is “readily available on such affordable, mainstream models as the Fiat 500X ($20,000 base), Mazda3 ($17,845 base), Scion iA ($15,700 base), and Subaru Forester ($22,395 base).”

Consumer Report’s punch makes little difference

Consumer Reports seems to have taken it upon itself to downplay Tesla Motors at every chance it gets. The Report once gave Tesla’s Model S the highest rating ever, only to pull the rating and claim that car scored less than average on reliability.

Now, it claims that it is autobrake and not autopilot that stopped the car in that YouTube video. It makes no difference whether it was autobrake or autopilot, the fact remains that a driver-assist system that Tesla Motors made prevented the car from a crash.

Tesla Motors is in the good book of its buyers and the analysts on Wall Street. The firm has not been able to make its cars as fast as it sells them and the stock has a bullish run despite weak Q3 earnings. Tesla will have a smooth ride if it continues to make buyers of its cars and Wall Street happy – it doesn’t matter if report ratings thinks it does a good job or not.

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Victor Alagbe is a seasoned business and finance writer with a specialty in writing about how to invest for the long-term in healthcare, pharmacology, energy and tech stocks. His long-term focus is on stocks that provide a nice mix of growth and income. For the short term, he passionately writes about trading stock options for the excitement and leverage that stock options offer.

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