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Tesla's latest autopilot feature raises new safety concerns

Minnesota residents should know that Tesla has recently released a new version of its Navigate on Autopilot feature. This is part of the automaker's efforts to create a safer semi-automated vehicle. However, a Consumer Reports study found that the feature actually creates new risks for drivers.

Navigate on Autopilot was introduced back in 2018 for highway driving and has already seen updates in April 2019. It's meant to partially take control over the vehicle and keep it from weaving out of a lane. The newest optional feature allows the vehicle to change lanes on its own without driver input. This was the feature that Consumer Reports analyzed and found wanting.

Specifically, the feature was found liable to make dangerous maneuvers, cutting off speeding cars too closely and violating traffic laws. Testers found that it was noticeably flawed during merges. Though the driver can cancel any action made by the feature through the touchscreen, analysts say that monitoring the system is more inconvenient than driving manually.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there have been three fatal crashes involving Tesla vehicles that had the Autopilot feature on. Other features that Tesla has developed to boost safety are the Lane Departure Avoidance feature and Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance.

As Tesla has stated, these features are not meant to take away a driver's responsibility of keeping their vehicle under control. If a negligent driver causes a car crash, they may be held liable. A victim who believes they have a strong case against such a negligent driver may want to see a lawyer before they file their personal injury claim. If retained, the lawyer might hire investigators to obtain proof of negligence.

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