Home Tesla recalls nearly all vehicles sold in U.S. to fix Autopilot monitoring system

Tesla recalls nearly all vehicles sold in U.S. to fix Autopilot monitoring system

Tesla is recalling the vast majority of the two million vehicles it has sold in the US to urgently fix a malfunctioning system designed to ensure drivers remain alert when using Autopilot.

The action follows a two-year investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) into crashes involving the Autopilot system, some of which were fatal, reports CNBC. NHTSA’s investigation revealed shortcomings in Autopilot’s method of ensuring driver attention, leading to foreseeable misuse.

Documents posted by U.S. safety regulators on Wednesday (Dec.13) said the company will send out a software update to fix the problems.

Autopilot is an advanced driver assistance system the electric car maker claims enhances safety and convenience behind the wheel. When used properly, Tesla says Autopilot reduces the overall workload of a driver and makes driving safer.  All vehicles built for the North American market now use camera-based ‘Tesla Vision’ to deliver Autopilot features, rather than radar.

Which Tesla models have been recalled?

The affected models, including Y, S, 3, and X, will receive a software update aimed at improving the driver monitoring system.

The complete list of recalled Tesla vehicles includes: the 2012-2023 Model S, 2016-2023 Model X, 2017-2023 Model 3 and 2020-2023 Model Y

The update includes additional controls and alerts to encourage drivers to adhere to their driving responsibilities. Autosteer, a component of Autopilot, will be restricted in use, providing visual and audible alerts if engaged under inappropriate conditions. The update also enhances visual alerts, simplifies Autosteer activation, and introduces additional checks on system use outside controlled access roads.

Tesla began sending the update on Tuesday (Dec 12) to certain affected vehicles, with the rest to follow later. The recall documents mention a potential suspension from Autosteer use if drivers repeatedly fail to demonstrate continuous and sustained driving responsibility.

Despite Autopilot’s name, Tesla emphasizes on its website that the system and the more advanced Full Self Driving are driver-assist features and do not enable autonomous driving.

The NHTSA has been investigating Tesla crashes since 2016, suspecting automated system involvement in 35 incidents, resulting in at least 17 fatalities. The agency will continue monitoring Tesla’s remedies to ensure safety, keeping the investigation open.

What has Tesla said?

The company’s CEO Elon Musk has so far not commented on the recall but the company’s branded account on X released a lengthy statement on the recent reports around the safety systems within the car and accused news outlets of “not accurately conveying the nature of our safety systems.”

Featured picture: David von Diemar on Unsplash 

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Sam Shedden
Executive Editor

Sam Shedden is an experienced journalist and editor with over a decade of experience in online news. A seasoned technology writer and content strategist, he has contributed to many UK regional and national publications including The Scotsman, inews.co.uk, nationalworld.com, Edinburgh Evening News, The Daily Record and more. Sam has written and edited content for audiences whose interests include media, technology, AI, start-ups and innovation. He's also produced and set-up email newsletters in numerous specialist topics in previous roles and his work on newsletters saw him nominated as Newsletter Hero Of The Year at the UK's Publisher Newsletter Awards 2023. He…

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