On Monday, we touched on the tragedy occurring overseas in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, there’s yet another tragedy hitting the news. Monday evening, a car crashed into a public school… leading to the Tesla self-driving investigation that’s been dominating headlines.
While the mainstream media may love tragedies because it gives them something to talk about — if it bleeds, it leads, as they say — I’m not a huge fan.
However, I felt the need to cover this one…
Because, frankly, it could have been avoided.
For those who haven’t heard, look below at Bloomberg’s summarization of the story.
On the same day, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a formal investigation into Tesla’s autopilot system.
Just two days later, Democrat Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey of Connecticut and Massachusetts, respectively, wrote a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding Tesla’s advertising.
Regarding Tesla’s self-driving investigation, the Senators asked FTC Chair Lina Khan to examine whether the EV company was using “potentially deceptive and unfair practices” when marketing its autopilot system.
The claim is that Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) currently markets its feature as being “Full Self-Driving,” giving people the belief that they need to have no involvement when behind the wheel of the popular product.
If that’s the case, it’s a no-brainer against Tesla.
The Tesla Self-Driving Investigation
The NHTSA has said in public documents that there have been 11 crashes involving a Tesla on autopilot striking another vehicle since 2018. I’m honestly surprised it’s not more based on the amount of photos available if you do a simple Google search.
And the reason is obvious… Tesla’s “self-driving” system isn’t really self-driving at all. At present, the autopilot system is only at “Level Two” in terms of autonomy.
Level two is listed as “partial automation,” NOT fully autonomous as Tesla would have consumers believe. The car can steer, brake and accelerate under certain circumstances. But drivers should still keep a hand on the wheel. They’re also responsible for paying attention to traffic signals, changing lanes, road hazards, etc.
Tesla’s autopilot relies solely on cameras and forward-facing radar, which is not nearly enough to let the car drive itself.
But that’s what you get when you cut corners and still barely beat your margins, I guess.
In order for its claims of “full self-driving” to be true, it would need to hit at least a level four or five. And the only way to do that is for the car to increase its use of Laser imaging, Detection and ranging systems (LiDar).
Which brings me to the one EV stock that is an absolute can’t-miss pick. No, it’s not Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) — although the 2022 Lincoln Navigator already looks to have a better autopilot than anything Tesla offers.
As the electric vehicle revolution ramps up, and the Tesla self-driving investigation gets under way, we need to look to the future of self-driving systems.
All the best,
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