A look at today’s headlines in several media outlets would likely show a story about Tesla recalling over two million vehicles over a fault in Autopilot. The issue, as per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Safety Recall Report, will be fully addressed through a free over-the-air software update.
As per the NHTSA’s report, the Autopilot issue potentially involves 2,031,220 vehicles, including legacy Model S vehicles from the 2012 model year. Such vehicles are equipped with Autosteer, and as per the NHTSA’s document, Tesla’s default safety checks in the driver-assist system may prove inadequate at times, which could result in drivers not paying enough attention to the road.
“In certain circumstances when Autosteer is engaged, if a driver misuses the SAE Level 2 advanced driver-assistance feature such that they fail to maintain continuous and sustained responsibility for vehicle operation and are unprepared to intervene, fail to recognize when the feature is canceled or not engaged, and/or fail to recognize when the feature is operating in situations where its functionality may be limited, there may be an increased risk of a collision,” the NHTSA’s Safety Recall Report read.
The recall is the culmination of a two-year probe into Tesla’s Autopilot system, which has become one of the most robust and most polarizing driver-assist systems deployed in the market today. The NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation on 11 incidents involving Autopilot-equipped Teslas and first responder vehicles in August 2021, and over the next two years, Tesla and the agency worked closely together to determine a fix for Autopilot’s potential issues.
To address the Autopilot issue, Tesla will be rolling out software version 2023.44.30 on affected vehicles. The update includes more notable safety checks for Autosteer, such as additional controls and alerts that remind the driver to use the system properly. It should be noted that Tesla Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y vehicles that were produced from midday December 7, 2023 are not part of the recall since they are already loaded with software version 2023.44.30.
Following is the remedy that would be implemented on Autosteer as a result of the NHTSA’s Autopilot recall.
“At no cost to customers, affected vehicles will receive an over-the-air software remedy, which is expected to begin deploying to certain affected vehicles on or shortly after December 12, 2023, with software version 2023.44.30. Remaining affected vehicles will receive an over-the-air software remedy at a later date.
“The remedy will incorporate additional controls and alerts to those already existing on affected vehicles to further encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility whenever Autosteer is engaged, which includes keeping their hands on the steering wheel and paying attention to the roadway.
“Depending on vehicle hardware, the additional controls will include, among others, 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 outside controlled access highways and when approaching traffic controls, and eventual suspension from Autosteer use if the driver repeatedly fails to demonstrate continuous and sustained driving responsibility while the feature is engaged.”
The NHTSA’s Safety Recall Report on its Tesla Autopilot recall can be viewed below.
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