Tesla (TSLA) Trolls Attack the Wikipedia Page of the NTSB Director After Her Stance on the FSD Labeling Was Validated by an MIT Study

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Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), the world’s most valuable vehicle manufacturer, continues to remain at loggerheads with the US National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) over the supposed efficacy and safety of its semi-autonomous driving system, dubbed the Autopilot.

As we’ve noted previously, the NTSB has long maintained a critical stance on Tesla’s use of the Full Self-Driving (FSD) labeling for the Autopilot’s enhanced features, contending that the label gives rise to misconstrued connotations and a false sense of security. In fact, the NTSB chairwoman, Jennifer Homendy, recently termed the FSD labeling “misleading and irresponsible” and urged Tesla to address ongoing safety concerns via-a-vis the Autopilot before introducing new features.

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While this bad blood between Tesla and NTSB has been brewing for quite a while, the issue has gained renewed vigor in recent days as a scientific paper validated the agency’s concerns.

To wit, an MIT study, titled “a model for naturalistic glance behavior around Tesla Autopilot disengagements,” probed the glance data from 290 human-initiated Autopilot disengagement epochs. The paper finds that the FSD labeling encourages drivers to become more complacent:

“Visual behavior patterns change before and after AP [Autopilot] disengagement. Before disengagement, drivers looked less on road and focused more on non-driving related areas compared to after the transition to manual driving. The higher proportion of off-road glances before disengagement to manual driving were not compensated by longer glances ahead.”

Bear in mind that Tesla has now opened its FSD Beta program to a much wider pool of participants.  As a refresher, Tesla’s Autopilot system has recently gone through a major overhaul, with the company abandoning the radar sensor in favor of eight cameras. Tesla retails the FSD functionality of the Autopilot system as a separate add-on that can be purchased via a $10,000 lump-sum amount or $199 per month subscription.

We had noted in a previous post that Tesla’s FSD capability is a misnomer at this stage, with the system allowing automatic lane changes and parking but not the complete autonomy that the FSD labeling implies. According to Tesla’s own admission to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the Autopilot is an SAE Level 2 Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS). On the other hand, a true FSD system would be equivalent to an SAE Level 5 ADAS.

This brings us to the crux of the matter. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, directed the well-honed ire of his supporters toward Homendy when he tweeted her Wikipedia page. Now, after a number of attacks on her page, Wikipedia has enforced its Full Protection protocols for Homendy’s profile:

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Bear in mind that, as per Wikipedia's policy, this is only done when there is a “persistent disruption from extended confirmed accounts; critical or extremely frequently used templates & modules.”

This is, of course, a very troubling development and follows a pattern that many have gotten used to over the years. After all, it was not that long ago that Musk called the SEC a Short-seller Enrichment Commission.”

What do you think of this incident? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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