tesla cabin facing camera

NHTSA closes investigation into Tesla rearview camera loss

Tesla's Cabin-facing camera is used to monitor driver attentiveness. (Credit: Andy Slye/YouTube)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has closed its second investigation on Tesla vehicles in a week after it ended an Autopilot probe last week.

This week, the NHTSA said it was closing an investigation it opened in November 2020 that aimed to find the cause of a touchscreen failure that resulted in the loss of a rear camera image display when the car was in reverse.

The agency closed the investigation on May 2. It probed the issue in 158,716 Tesla vehicles.

The NHTSA described the initial issue in its document from 2020:

“Failure of the touchscreen results in loss of rear camera image display when reverse gear is selected, resulting in reduced rear visibility when backing. Failure of touchscreen also impacts HVAC (defogging) ability, and audible chimes relating to ADAS, Autopilot and turn signals.”

The NHTSA filed a petition to close the investigation on May 2, stating that its Office of Defects Investigation learned the memory chip Tesla was using in its vehicles had a life usage rating of approximately 3,000 Program-Erase cycles, and then would be no longer operational.

This would take only five to six years to fully consume. Once the memory was gone, the operation would no longer occur.

Tesla filed a recall in January 2021 and provided free hardware in addition to an Over-the-Air update. This remedied the issue.

The NHTSA said Tesla’s hardware update and OTA update “appears to address the unreasonable risk to motor safety presented by the premature failure of the component,” which was enough to close the investigation.

This is the second NHTSA investigation into Tesla vehicles that has been closed in two weeks.

On April 26, an investigation into Tesla Autopilot was closed after the automaker rolled out a recall in December to “increase the prominence of visual alerts on the user interface, simplify engagement and disengagement of Autosteer, make additional checks upon engaging Autosteer while using the feature outside of controlled access highways and when approaching traffic controls,” among other things.

The NHTSA opened a Recall Query into this OTA update to ensure it was providing additional safeguards while Autopilot was being used.

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NHTSA closes investigation into Tesla rearview camera loss
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