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Tesla Recalls 2 Million Vehicles Over Autosteer’s ‘Risk Of Crash’

Numerous accidents involving Tesla's Autopilot system have resulted in a massive update to the company's fleet of vehicles in the U.S.
Tesla Model SOver 2 million Tesla vehicles will receive a software update over safety concerns, including the Model S above; (photo/Shutterstock)
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If you own a Tesla, your vehicle will probably get an update very soon.

Tesla issued a recall on Tuesday, potentially affecting more than 2 million vehicles. Safety officials demanded updates to the Autopilot function to ensure driver attention, according to a notice filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

This marks Tesla’s fourth recall in less than two years and covers nearly all models sold in the United States, including the Model Y sport utility vehicle, one of the company’s most popular cars. The recall will add more prominent visual alerts and checks for the Autosteer function, a part of the Autopilot system. The NHTSA expressed concerns about an “increased risk of a crash” when Autosteer is engaged, and drivers do not maintain responsibility for vehicle operation.

The organization initiated its investigation in August 2021 following 11 incidents involving Tesla vehicles using Autosteer. After a series of discussions between the NHTSA and Tesla, the automaker decided this month to voluntarily recall affected vehicles.

Tesla began providing an “over-the-air software remedy” to certain vehicles on Tuesday, with plans to update the remaining vehicles later. All updates will be provided free of charge to the owners of the affected cars.

Affected models include:

  • TESLA/MODEL 3/2017-2023
  • TESLA/MODEL S/2012-2023
  • TESLA/MODEL X/2016-2023
  • TESLA/MODEL Y/2020-2023
An interior view of an autonomous Tesla car in Autopilot mode; (photo/Shutterstock)

Tesla Recall: Details

The software update will introduce controls and alerts to the Autosteer function. Depending on the vehicle’s hardware, some updated models will receive more prominent visual alerts on the user interface and additional checks when engaging Autosteer and encountering traffic controls. Autosteer will also be suspended if the driver repeatedly fails to use it responsibly.

In the letter to Tesla, the NHTSA said that the company had agreed to limit the use of the Autosteer feature if a driver repeatedly fails to demonstrate they are ready to resume control of the car while the feature is on.

The recall was announced just two days following a comprehensive investigation by The Washington Post. The investigation revealed a pattern of at least eight severe accidents, some of which resulted in fatalities. In these incidents, it was determined that the Autopilot feature should not have been active at the time.

According to the story, some federal officials believe that the NHTSA should have enforced rules about Tesla’s technology much sooner. The inaction shows “a real failure of the system,” Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, told The Post.

“How many more people have to die before you take action as an agency?” Homendy said of the NHTSA.

Elon Musk has said he doesn’t view software updates as a recall. Calling software updates a recall is “just flat wrong!” he wrote on X during a recall in early 2023.

Letters notifying Tesla owners of the update are expected to be sent out in February.

Tesla Crash

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