Tesla (which is founded by Elon Musk) is asking over 2 million of its cars in the U.S. to be brought back because a safety investigation found that the autopilot system might not be good enough to stop drivers from using it improperly.
The recall affects various models, including the Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Model Y, made between 2012 and 2023, all equipped with Autosteer, which is like a smart cruise control. Tesla is concerned that in certain situations, the controls of Autosteer might not be clear enough to prevent drivers from using it the wrong way. Moreover, In the first week of Dec Tesla launched its cybertruck in Austin, Texas.
Tesla Autosteer Recall and Safety Measures
Autosteer keeps a constant speed or distance from the vehicle in front, recognizes lane markings, and other vehicles. However, Tesla emphasizes that drivers must keep their hands on the steering wheel and be ready to act quickly at all times, even when using Autosteer.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a part of the Transportation Department, initiated the recall after conducting an investigation.
In August 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began looking into 11 incidents related to Tesla’s Autosteer. They examined almost 1,000 crashes where autopilot use was initially mentioned, concentrating on 322 crashes involving autopilot. This included crashes caused by frontal impacts and those where the system might have disengaged accidentally.
Over the following two years, Tesla worked with the agency and participated in several meetings.
The inquiry discovered that when using Autosteer in specific situations, drivers might not be fully responsible for operating the vehicle. They might be unprepared to intervene when needed, or fail to notice when Autosteer is turned off or not in use, which could increase the risk of a crash.
Even though Tesla disagreed with the agency’s engineering analysis of the Autosteer problem, on December 5, they agreed to voluntarily recall and fix the issue. The remedy involves a free over-the-air software update for affected vehicles.
The software update will include “extra controls and alerts” to better remind the driver of their ongoing responsibility when Autosteer is in use, according to the safety report.
Affected vehicle owners will receive notifications by mail.
Faces Issues: Warranty Claims and Safety Stand
As of December 8, Tesla has recognized nine warranty claims received between July 13, 2021, and September 17, 2023, that could be connected to the Autosteer problem, as mentioned in the report.
This recall poses a new challenge for Tesla, a company that has consistently promoted the safety of its Autopilot and “Full Self Driving” mode.
In a tweet on Monday, Tesla reaffirmed their stance, stating, “Safety metrics are significantly better when Autopilot is active compared to when it’s not,” in response to a Washington Post that spotlighted eight fatal or serious Tesla crashes where Autopilot was mistakenly enabled.
In February of this year, Tesla had to recall over 360,000 vehicles due to concerns about a version of its “full self-driving” software that could raise the risk of crashes, according to the NHTSA.
A spokesperson from the NHTSA mentioned on Wednesday that their investigation is ongoing as they observe the effectiveness of Tesla’s solutions and collaborate with the automaker to guarantee the utmost safety.
The spokesperson also added, “Automated technology has the potential to enhance safety, but it must be implemented responsibly. Today’s action demonstrates the improvement of automated systems by giving priority to safety.”
Tesla faces a significant challenge with the recall of over 2 million cars in the U.S. due to Autosteer safety concerns. The company’s Autopilot and ‘Full Self Driving’ mode claims are questioned amid ongoing NHTSA investigations. The recall follows a series of incidents and a previous recall in February. Tesla emphasizes safety improvements through a voluntary software update, highlighting the responsibility of automated technology for enhanced safety.