Short Circuit

NHTSA has Tesla recall 362,000 US vehicles over Autopilot software


The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is forcing Tesla to update its FSD (Full Self Driving) software for the Autopilot driver assistance system in around 362,000 vehicles. Elon Musk is furious, especially about the classification as a “recall” – again.

The NHTSA regulators said on Thursday the driver assistance system did not adequately adhere to traffic safety laws and could cause crashes. Namely, the authority finds that the Tesla software allows a vehicle to “exceed speed limits or travel through intersections in an unlawful or unpredictable manner increases the risk of a crash.”

Among other things, vehicles in beta operation of the FSD software are said to have continued straight through intersections with stop signs or in turn lanes without stopping. In other words, the very “unpredictable” way that NHTSA criticises.

Tesla said it disagreed with the NHTSA’s analysis but relented in the end. The exact content of the update, which will now be applied to the 362,000 affected vehicles over the air without a workshop visit, is unknown. It concerns vehicles of all four model series, the Model S and Model X from 2016 to 2023, the Model 3 from 2017 to 2023 and the Model Y from 2020 to 2023.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk complained once again on Twitter about the fact that the authority uses the term recall for a problem that can be fixed via a software update. This is “anachronistic and simply wrong!” says the Tesla boss.

However, the dispute had been ongoing. While Tesla would like to consider a recall for anything that requires the drivers to return their cars to the workshops physically, the NHTSA wants carmakers to file for a recall also in cases when a company decides to use an OTA software update to fix any such issues.

“Any manufacturer issuing an over-the-air update that mitigates a defect that poses an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety is required to timely file an accompanying recall notice to NHTSA,” the authority said about a previous Tesla recall last November.

According to NHTSA data, Tesla reported 19 US recall campaigns in 2022 covering more than 3.7 million vehicles, including four callbacks in November.

The NHTSA is also not the only authority taking issue with Tesla and the Autopilot system specifically. There have been lawsuits over “misleading claims” from 2019 and thereon in Germany. Plus, the KBA, responsible for recalls in Germany, has had doubts similar to those brought by the NHTSA.


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