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Teslas Can Be ‘Tricked’ to Run Without Driver, Consumer Reports Says

  • Model Y missed lack of operator, Consumer Reports finds
  • Test comes after deadly unresolved crash of a Model S in Texas
Inside a Tesla Showroom in Shanghai As Carmaker Prolongs Model Y China Delivery Times
Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
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Consumer Reports engineers said they “easily tricked” a Tesla Inc. vehicle to drive via its Autopilot feature without anyone in the driver’s seat, just days after a fatal crash in Texas where police said they found no one behind the steering wheel of a Tesla car.

In a test conducted this week, test drivers took several trips on a closed half-mile track in a Tesla Model Y sport utility vehicle, the nonprofit research organization said in a statement Thursday. The vehicle -- with Autopilot technology engaged -- was able to steer itself along painted lines but at no time displayed a warning that the driver’s seat was empty. The engineer who conducted the test placed a small weighted chain on the steering wheel to simulate the weight of a driver’s hand.