Last week, Tesla initiated a recall on 362,758 vehicles equipped with FSD Beta. As per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the recall was initiated due to a fault that may cause FSD Beta to exceed the speed limits of inner city roads or travel through intersections in an unlawful manner.
Tesla’s FSD Beta recall, while it is dubbed as such, is not like a traditional recall from a conventional car company. Instead of affected owners taking their vehicles to their respective dealers or service centers to have their cars fixed, Teslas affected by the FSD Beta recall would only need to download a software update to address their faults.
Despite this, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) President David Harkey noted that Tesla’s FSD Beta recall is nevertheless representative of a wider issue on partially-automated systems and the way they are advertised. In a statement posted on the IIHS’ official website, Harkey noted that drivers of partially automated cars have shown a tendency to treat their vehicles like they are already fully autonomous.
“The partial automation systems on vehicles today require the driver to be fully engaged in the driving task at all times and retake control when necessary. Institute research shows that drivers who use partial automation on a regular basis often treat their vehicles as fully self-driving despite widespread warnings and numerous high-profile crash reports. However, none of the current systems is designed to replace a human driver or to make it safe for a driver to perform other activities that take their focus from the road,” the IIHS President said.
Harkey also shared some criticism towards Tesla’s Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability, which he noted had misleading names considering their current capabilities.
“Fully attentive drivers could prevent their vehicles from doing the things cited in the recall. The main problems for Tesla’s system include the misleading names of ‘Full Self Driving’ and ‘Autopilot’ and the fact that it does not have adequate safeguards to ensure drivers will pay full attention to the road. IIHS has been working on the development of a new safeguard ratings program to address how well partial automation vehicles will keep drivers engaged in the driving task and will begin rating vehicles later this year,” Harkey said.
While the IIHS President shared critical words towards Tesla, it should be noted that the IIHS has given the electric vehicle maker due credit over the years. The Tesla Model 3 and Model Y, for example, were given a Top Safety Pick+ award by the agency last year, the highest rating that the IIHS can give.
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