We are now up to three accidents in which the Autopilot system was said to have been engaged when they occurred, one of which was the widely publicized fatal crash in Florida.
A Tesla spokesperson said Wednesday that the program reassured customers in Tesla's early years when its cars didn't have a track record.
The name Autopilot, along with Tesla's heavy marketing of the system, could confuse owners with two contradictory messages, Consumer Reports says.
Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas thinks Tesla might want to reconsider the name "Autopilot" for its self-driving technology.
Consumer Reports pins the blame squarely upon Tesla for misrepresenting Autopilot, specifically for this blog post, called Your Autopilot Has Arrived, saying it presents a "dangerously premature assumption that the Model S was capable of truly driving on its own".
Disable the Autosteer function of the Autopilot system until it can be reprogrammed to require drivers to keep their hands on the wheel.
The system is still in beta, and the publication believes that Tesla's marketing surrounding Autopilot may be confusing consumers. He said NHTSA lacks the electronic engineers and laboratories needed to keep up with advanced technology such as General Motors air bags or Tesla's Autopilot.
"It is time to stop your administration's undue haste to get autonomous vehicle technology to the road", the groups wrote to Obama and other high-ranking transportation officials in his administration. "Autopilot" can't actually drive the vehicle, yet it allows consumers to have their hands off the steering wheel for minutes at a time.
The Model X is the second Autopilot crash that has occured in the U.S., the first involving a fatal crash with between a Model S and a tractor-trailer in Florida earlier in May.
CR believes that this mixed messaging creates a situation where the driver may not be engaged enough to react to a risky situation, even though they are expected to ultimately have control of the vehicle.
Tesla said it is continually introducing fully tested improvements to make the Autopilot system safer than driving without it.
"When that automation reaches its limits and the autopilot hands back control of the aircraft to the pilot, the flight crew must be prepared and ready to respond."
Although there's are investigations under way into what may have been the first fatality in a self-driving auto, a Tesla, many carmakers are pushing ahead strongly with developing the technology, writes Brian Byrne.
Ms MacCleery said that consumers "should never be guinea pigs for vehicle safety "beta" programs".
In response to Consumer Reports, Tesla said that it was developing the technology but felt comfortable with its processes. Drivers are also expected to maintain control and responsibility of their vehicle, even with the autonomous mode on.
The company added: "Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not flawless and still requires the driver to remain alert".
"There is nothing inherently wrong with autopilot", Kelley Blue Book Analyst Michael Harley said, noting that the feature is semi, not fully, autonomous. They include several reports expressing concern about the safety of the Autopilot feature, along with complaints about stalling, unintended acceleration and battery problems.