Following a two-year federal investigation and at least 1,000 crashes, Tesla has recalled about 2 million electric vehicles in the U.S. in response to concerns about the software in its Autopilot feature.
The recall involves almost all Teslas sold in the U.S. since 2012 and covers all models. The move was spurred by a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation into accidents involving Teslas, which determined the design of the car’s Autopilot system “can provide inadequate driver engagement and usage controls that can lead to foreseeable misuse of the system,” according to the NHTSA. In its Defect Information Report, Tesla noted that Autopilot’s software system controls “may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse,” leading to Tesla filing a safety recall with the agency, the NHTSA reported.
The Autopilot program is described by Tesla as an advanced driver assistance system standard in all its cars, designed to increase safety and relieve pressure on drivers. Cars can automatically steer, accelerate and brake within their lanes, while Autosteer helps the car maintain speed and stay in its lane. Enhanced Autopilot assists with changing lanes on highways.
The company, which released its first electric car in 2008, plans to reduce the risks from Autopilot by simplifying the activation and deactivation of Autosteer and installing more alerts to ensure drivers are paying attention.
Tesla used to offer a full self-driving capability for its cars that allowed the vehicle to operate on its own, but that system has been put on hold.
The investigation remains open as the NHTSA continues to assess Tesla’s remedies for the Autopilot system.
Autopilot programs such as Tesla’s have been hailed as a major convenience for drivers, but some worry there are still too many flaws in the systems, causing too many accidents. AAA’s 20223 automated vehicle survey revealed that 68% of motorists are afraid of self-driving cars, an increase of 13% from 2022. Many drivers also did not like sharing the road with them.
The NHTSA is monitoring the performance of self-driving cars and has a Standing General Order to receive data from crashes involving cars with advanced driver assistance systems, allowing the agency to assess and investigate trends and safety risks associated with crashes.
Is your car on the list? Here’s what to do if your car has been recalled.
Tells us how you feel about Tesla’s Autopilot and other self-driving features in the comments below.