Edsel Yugo Award goes to Tesla in a tight race with Uber

The AUTO Connected Car News Tech CARS Awards, every year, gives an award that no automaker wants to win, “The Tech CARS Edsel Yugo Award for the Biggest SNAFU in technology.” Some very big companies have received this dis-honor. For example, Apple for Releasing iOS 8 update that fried Bluetooth connections for years to come.

Last year, the Edsel Yugo Award for the Biggest Snafu in Car Technology, the highest percentage of votes out of any category went to Volkswagen/Audi  for the Diesel Test Spoofing Scandal with 60% of the vote which is considerably more than Takata Air Bags with 22% of the vote.

Dis-Honorable Mention

This year we had a surprise in the write-in voting process, proving that someone was not reading what they were writing or thinking. It is the first year, we allowed write-in nominations in the voting software. We give a dis-honorable mention to TomTom for nominating TomTom for the worst award you can get the Edsel Yugo Award by a write-in nomination when TomTom has done nothing wrong. On top of that, after the company was nominated it won 7% of the votes!  Another write in vote was for the Edsel Yugo Award was for “mobile phones” which maybe should be altered to mobile phone use while driving.

The voting for the other connected car disasters went as follows:

Fourth Place Tech CARS’ Edsel Yugo Award – CarMax

CarMax claims cars are safe but sell them with unimpaired open recalls. This item didn’t get much news because of the massive Takata air bag recalls. We suggest all car buyers always check for open recalls because any dealer can miss a notice.

3rd Place Tech CARS’ Edsel Yugo Award-BMW

Third place goes to BMW for its automated soft-close doors that closes on human fingers. We couldn’t put our finger on why this got some soft votes, but when we look at the scandals surrounding the winners/losers, fingers damage doesn’t compare to losing lives or breaking the law.

Edsel Yugo Second Place: Uber

This year we were amazed at how close the vote was with many voters finding fault at the highest level with the most popular brand Uber. Maybe voters were voting with their gut instinct and were predicting the impending doom with the company.

Second place for the Edsel Yugo Tech CARS Award goes to the Uber’s self-driving cars driving without permits in San Francisco. The rouge vehicles where caught on camera running stop lights. The company claims they weren’t self-driving cars but the DMV revoked their licenses. It wasn’t just Uber that is breaking the law but the self-driving truck company Otto.

Consumer Watchdog called on the Department of Motor Vehicles to revoke Otto’s robot truck registrations and seek appropriate charges against the company and its executives for illegally testing self-driving technology on California roads.

The group also said that given Otto’s actions, Uber cannot be trusted and the DMV should revoke the registrations of the robot cars Uber recently returned to San Francisco with the claim they won’t operate in self-driving mode. Uber bought Otto last summer to get access to its self-driving technology.

The voting took place before the recent sexual harassment and other Uber scandals.

First/Last Place Tesla

In a weird twist of fate the past winner for best EV and Overall Best Implementation of New Car Tech to Make Lives Better or Easier for Autopilot–Tesla receives this non-coveted Edsel Yugo award because Tesla vehicles were the first cases where human beings died while using the Autopilot software: Joshua Brown and Gao Yaning. Brown’s demise was not made public for a long time. While Yaning’s vehicle had a dashcam and the dramatic video clearly showed the Tesla S making huge mistakes before the deadly crash.

Joshua Brown was the first known fatality in a Tesla S while Autopilot was deployed.

“NHTSA has wrongly accepted Tesla’s line and blamed the human, rather than the ‘Autopilot’ technology and Tesla’s aggressive marketing” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director. “The very name ‘Autopilot’ creates the impression that a Tesla can drive itself. It can’t. Some people who apparently believed Tesla’s hype got killed. Tesla CEO Elon Musk should have been held accountable.”

The Edsel Yugo Awards reminds all of us that new connected car technology has to be safe and thoroughly tested before hitting the road or anything else.