Tesla Autopilot loses to GM Super Cruise due to lack of driver monitoring in industry-wide test

Consumer Reports released a report based on a test of 17 driver-assist system and Tesla Autopilot came in second to GM’s Super Cruise due to the lack of driver monitoring in the former. The result is similar to their 2018 driver assist rankings.

The publication started its driver-assist system tests in 2018 with only a handful of systems.

Now two years later, the test has grown to 17 systems:

“In Consumer Reports’ first-ever ranking of these systems, conducted in 2018, we evaluated systems from Cadillac, Nissan/Infiniti, Tesla, and Volvo. Over the last two years these advanced technologies have become more mainstream, and CR’s testing this year now includes 17 systems, including the original four.”

In the new 2020 ranking, GM’s Super Cruise tested in a Cadillac CT6 took the first place with Tesla Autopilot coming in second:

However, when it comes to “capability and performance”, Consumer Reports believes that Tesla Autopilot is the best:

“When it comes to lane keeping assist, Tesla did the best in our tests. But systems from Audi, Cadillac, and Lincoln performed almost as well. A good system will assist the driver by maintaining placement in the center of the lane and keeping the vehicle well within the lane boundaries.”

Here are the automated driver-assist system rankings based solely on capability and performance:

What hurt Tesla Autopilot is the “keeping the driver engaged” category, which is basically driver monitoring.

Super Cruise easily took the lead here with its eye-tracking technology:

“A camera-based driver monitoring system that uses eye-tracking technology checks to see whether the driver is looking at the road, and that’s why Cadillac’s Super Cruise is the clear winner when it comes to keeping the driver engaged. Other systems require the driver to place their hands on the wheel every once in a while, but that does not necessarily mean the driver is actually looking at the road ahead.”

Here are the rankings for ‘keeping the driver engaged’:

Tesla Autopilot’s driver monitoring system consists only of detecting if torque is being applied to the steering wheel.

Here’s the full Consumer Reports’ report on driver-assist systems. Our review of GM’s Super Cruise is here for those unfamiliar

Electrek’s Take

I haven’t had experience with all these systems, but for those that I have tested, the rankings do seem to be accurate.

However, I do think that capability and performance should have a bigger weight than the other categories in the overall rankings.

On the other hand, I do think that Tesla could use a better driver monitoring system.

Super Cruise’s gaze tracking system is not perfect, but it’s a great step in the right direction.

With what we have been hearing about Tesla’s use of its driver-facing camera lately, we could see a similar system coming from Tesla in the future.

But Tesla appears so focused on full self-driving that it didn’t spend enough resources on driver monitoring for other automated driver-assist features.

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