Tesla recalls two million vehicles on autopilot issues

The recall affects all units of the Model S, Model X, Model 3 and Model Y that come equipped with the Autosteer feature, which has been available on Tesla models since 2012.

By Saptarshi Mondal, Autocar India calendar 20 Dec 2023 Views icon1513 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
 Tesla recalls two million vehicles on autopilot issues

Tesla has recalled nearly 2 million vehicles in the USA and Canada concerning a defect with its controversial Autopilot feature. The recall comes after a two-year investigation by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) into 956 crashes where the Autopilot feature was in use.

The recall affects all units of the Model SModel XModel 3 and Model Y that come equipped with the Autosteer feature, which has been available on Tesla models since 2012. The feature helps keep the car in the correct lane, working in conjunction with adaptive cruise control, also matching the speed of the vehicles around it. The driver, however, is still required to have their hands on the steering wheel at all times.  

Reason behind Tesla recall

In an official statement, Tesla said, “In certain circumstances when Autosteer is engaged, the prominence and scope of the feature’s controls may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse of the Level 2 advanced driver-assistance feature.”

Tesla has said that a fix for the affected vehicles will be rolled out via an over-the-air (OTA) software remedy in a phased manner, meaning it will be done automatically and does not require the vehicle to be taken to a dealership or garage. The fix involves increasing the prominence of visual alerts on the user interface, simplifying engagement and disengagement of Autosteer, additional checks upon engaging Autosteer and while using the feature, and even suspension of the system if the driver is detected to be distracted.

Tesla’s Level 2 Autopilot feature is meant to assist drivers with steering, acceleration and braking, but despite its name, drivers are required to have their hands on the steering wheel and also pay attention to the road. As per the NHTSA’s investigation, the system does not adequately prompt a distracted driver, thereby allowing its misuse.

Tesla’s response

As per the recall notice, Tesla did not concur with the NHTSA’s analysis but regardless agreed to roll out new features to resolve the concerns. Tesla even defended the Autopilot feature via a post on X (formerly Twitter) that said, “Safety metrics are emphatically stronger when Autopilot is engaged than when not engaged.”

The post also backed the claim with numbers – “In the 4th quarter of 2022, we recorded one crash for every 4.85 million miles driven in which drivers were using Autopilot technology. For drivers who were not using Autopilot technology, we recorded one crash for every 1.40 million miles driven. By comparison, the most recent data available from NHTSA and FHWA (from 2021) shows that in the United States, there was an automobile crash approximately every 6,52,000 miles.”

Critics have pointed out that Tesla’s naming of its “Autopilot” feature itself has misled users about its capabilities. The NHTSA investigation also points out that there have been numerous accidents in the past that suggest that these features do not live up to the name of Autopilot.

Moreover, this is not the first time Tesla has had to issue a recall with regard to its Autopilot feature. Earlier this year, nearly 3.50 lakh vehicles were recalled as the vehicles would violate traffic laws with Autopilot engaged.

Also See:

Tesla India launch possible in 2024; local manufacturing likely by 2026

Tesla to source USD 1.9 billion worth auto parts from India

Tags: Tesla
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