Tesla cars are being recalled en masse over safety fears

  • More than 362 000 Teslas are being recalled due to safety concerns over the company’s self-driving technology, according to a Reuters report.
  • Tesla vehicles are being investigated by regulators over a string of crashes. A recent crash saw an eight-vehicle pile up in San Francisco after a Tesla autopilot malfunctioned.
  • CEO Elon Musk says that there is no recall, and instead, Tesla is simply updating its self-driving software.

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has told electronic vehicle automaker Tesla to recall more than 362 000 vehicles in the country due to concerns over the safety of the company’s self-driving software.

NHTSA and other regulators said that the automaker’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta software does not adequately adhere to traffic safety laws and increases the risk of crashes, according to a report from Reuters.

In December, a Tesla with its FSD engaged caused an eight-vehicle pile-up in San Francisco after it malfunctioned.

FSD serves as an autopilot for the cars, and according to the automaker assists with steering, accelerating and braking when in proximity to other cars or pedestrians. Tesla says that FSD is to be used under the active supervision of the driver and is designed to “provide more active guidance and assisted driving.”

Tesla rolled out the autopilot Beta to owners of its cars in November last year, amid concerns, even then, that a commercial rollout would lead to safety issues. Importantly, the feature is only available to these owners that requested and paid for it.

Last year it was believed that around 160 000 drivers were capable of accessing FSD.

On Thursday, the NHTSA said Tesla’s FSD Beta allows the vehicles to, “exceed speed limits or travel through intersections in an unlawful or unpredictable manner increases the risk of a crash.”

CEO Elon Musk disagrees, stating that in fact there isn’t a recall at all and Tesla is simply launching an over-the-air software update to its vehicles.

While Tesla is planning to launch a free over-the-air update, tweets from its CEO conflict with reports of a recall.

NHTSA and Tesla have previously clashed on the topic of the company’s autopilot software. The company has continued to disagree with the regulator, stating that its self-driving vehicles are safe. Now, it seemingly had no choice but to fold to the recall request.

Models covered in the recall include 2016 – 2023 Model S and Model X cars, and 2017 – 2023 Model 3 cars. Finally, 2020 – 2023 Model Y vehicles that have the FSD Beta equipped or pending installation are also being recalled.

The NHTSA opened an investigation into 830 000 Tesla vehicles with driver-assisted FSDs over several crashes with parked emergency vehicles, specifically. The investigation is looking into whether or not the automaker sufficiently ensures its drivers are paying enough attention to the road while FSD is engaged.

Tesla has said that in “certain rare circumstances … the feature could potentially infringe upon local traffic laws or customs while executing certain driving manoeuvres.”

Tesla shares closed down 5.7 percent on Thursday on the back of the recall news.

[Image – Tesla Fans Schweiz on Unsplash]


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