Updated September 10th, 2016

Self-driving automobile technology has become all the rage in recent years, and as can be expected, Tesla Motors is on the forefront of this burgeoning industry. While the concept behind Tesla's self-driving cars definitely carries promise, it may be a while before the automaker can overcome doubts about the reliability of its Autopilot self-driving technology.


A recent report published by Consumer Reports did not review Tesla's Model S Sedan favorably, citing a "worse-than-average" overall problem rate for the all-electric vehicle. Over 1,400 Tesla owners participated in the survey, many of whom shared a wide array of reliability and functionality issues with the Model S. Key problem areas include the charging equipment, power equipment, drivetrain, sunroof (squeaks, leaks and rattles were reported), and the center console.

Enigmatic Tesla CEO Elon Musk was quick to respond, asserting that the Consumer Reports survey results may have been skewed due to the fact that many of the respondents were driving "early production cars", which contained issues that have subsequently been addressed and remedied in later models. Musk also brought attention to the fact that Consumer Reports, in that same press release, did report a high level of owner satisfaction with the Model S, citing that 97% of Tesla owners expect for their next car to be a Tesla as well.

Another item of note in the press release published by Consumer Reports is the almost unanimous praise for Tesla's customer service. Nearly every participant surveyed gave high marks to Tesla for their quick response and repair time, and Consumer Reports added that Tesla has exhibited high-performance efficiency when it comes to taking care of service problems that are covered by the factory warranty.

Another point of contention against Tesla has been the problems and "quirks" that have been reported with the automaker's Autopilot technology. One recent example of these types of issues is depicted in a YouTube video [] in which a Model S is seen jerking to the side when coming off a highway exit ramp. There are several credible videos chronicling issues similar to this, which gives the impression that the Level 3 feature (a.k.a. "autonomous driving") is definitely still a work in progress. Add to this the fact that there is a fundamental misunderstanding among some drivers regarding the technological limits of a self-driving car; specifically, that no technology yet exists that can completely absolve the driver of all responsibilities behind the wheel. Ultimately, the driver is still the primary entity in control of the guidance, acceleration, deceleration, etc., of any vehicle, self-driving or not.

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