Stop us if you've heard this one before: Elon Musk is again scrambling to appease the NHTSA and Consumer Reports.
After Consumer Reports dropped Tesla's Model 3 from its "top pick" list as a result of the automaker removing radar (and the associated automated safety features that go with it) from the vehicle, Musk has reportedly told pro-Tesla rag electrek that "safety features" are active in new Tesla vehicles.
So once again, it's all just a big misunderstanding, and Elon Musk can clear the whole thing up.
Electrek said late last week that "active safety features are in place in new Tesla cars and the NHTSA will test them next week".
Elon Musk reportedly told the blog: “Just confirmed with the Autopilot team that these features are active in all cars now, including vision-only. NHTSA automatically removes the check mark for any cars with new hardware until they retest, which is happening next week, but the functionality is actually there. It will have all the safety features of prior vision+radar and then some. The software should be fully rolled out to all new vehicles within two weeks."
He continued, stressing that once again the NHTSA and Consumer Reports just have no idea what they're talking about: "The probability of safety will be higher with pure vision than vision+radar, not lower. Vision has become so good that radar actually reduces signal/noise”.
Ah, yes, just like how Autopilot makes cars safer. How could we have forgotten?
Recall, days ago we noted that the Model 3 lost the "Top Pick" status after the automaker decided to no longer equip Model 3 and Model Y vehicles with radar sensors. Without the radar sensors, "vehicles may lack some key advanced safety features, including forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB)", according to Consumer Reports. This has caused these models to lose critical performance designations from testing organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
David Friedman, VP of advocacy for Consumer Reports and a former acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, commented: “If a driver thinks their vehicle has a safety feature and it doesn’t, that fundamentally changes the safety profile of the vehicle. It might not be there when they think it would save their lives.”
Vehicles built on or after April 27, 2021 would no longer going receive the NHTSA's "check mark" for FCW and AEB, we reported. The agency rescinded the check marks "after Tesla briefed the agency on production changes due to the transition to Tesla Vision from radar."
"Because of the change, Consumer Reports no longer lists the Model 3 as a Top Pick, and IIHS plans to remove the Model 3’s Top Safety Pick+ designation," CR wrote.
Jake Fisher, senior director of CR’s Auto Test Center, said: “It is extremely rare for an automaker to remove safety features from a vehicle during a production run, even temporarily, but this isn’t the first time that Tesla has done this.”
He continued: “With over-the-air updates, Tesla can add and remove features on their vehicles over time. We update our scores when key features are added or removed.”
Recall, we noted days ago when Tesla said it was ditching radar in favor of cameras. The company said it is going to do away with radar in favor of using a "camera-focused Autopilot system" and that the change is going to apply to both Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in North America, starting this month.