Tesla forced to recall 360.000 cars over faulty self-driving software

After identifying malfunctions in its driver assistance software, Tesla was forced to recall 362 758 cars in the United States. Models equipped with the Level 2 software of Full Self-Driving (FSD) can act in a potentially dangerous manner at intersections. In Europe, Tesla only tests FSD in the company cars of its staff.

According to the advisory issued by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the software’s flaws, when activated, can cause the vehicle to continue straight ahead when it has entered a clearance lane that theoretically requires turning.

‘Fail to react sufficiently’

But there’s more to it. It is also possible that the car drives through an intersection with stop signs without coming to a complete stop or through an intersection with fixed orange lights without slowing down. NHTSA has also noticed that vehicles may “fail to react sufficiently to signaled changes in speed limits” or refuse to intervene when a driver exceeds the maximum speed limit. The recall concerns all Tesla models equipped with the Beta version of FSD, ranging from the Model 3 to the Model X. Certain manufacturing periods date back as far as 2016.

The affected cars don’t need to return to service centers, as the EV brand plans to update the software over the air (OTA). In a reaction, Elon Musk tweeted: “The term ‘recall’ to describe a software update is anachronistic and simply wrong.”

The NHTSA’s dismay with Tesla’s FSD dates back to the summer of last year when the organization filed a report stating that 273 road accidents in the United States were related to FSD. Tesla has a dominant presence in statistics concerning self-driving-related traffic accidents. Nevertheless, the EV brand obeys but disagrees with NHTSA: “On February 7, 2023, while not concurring with the agency’s analysis, Tesla decided to administer a voluntary recall out of an abundance of caution.”

Warning Superbowl ad

In the United States, where the full-self driving software goes to much greater lengths than in Europe, opposition against FSD is growing. Earlier this month, Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, lashed out in an interview with the news channel CNBC on Elon Musk, stating that he was “dishonest” and a “cult leader” and “robbed” him and his family as the FSD assistant in his Tesla didn’t live up to expectations. “It fails all the time,” he added.

At Superbowl Sunday last week, the founder of The Dawn Project, Dan O’Dowd, bought a TV commercial costing $598 000 to warn the public about the dangers of FSD. The ad showed a Model 3 running over a child dummy in self-driving mode. “It’s deceptive marketing and woefully inept engineering,” O’Dowd commented.

Beaten by Mercedes?

According to Musk, self-driving technology is of quintessential value for Tesla as a company. He has repeatedly stated that without it, the business has no future. To investors, he said that autonomous driving or driverless vehicles would turn Tesla into a company with a market cap of 500 billion dollars.

The recall – one of many updates concerning FSD – is one more slap in the face of Tesla’s progression in the field. At the beginning of the year, rival Mercedes proudly announced that it was the first carmaker to bring Level 3 automated driving to the US, which is one step up compared to the current Level 2-bound version of Tesla’s FSD. Moreover, Mercedes deploys this higher-grade version of Drive Pilot, which allows drivers to move their sight away from the road under certain conditions, only in Nevada.


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