Tesla to Address NHTSA’s 2 Million-Vehicle Autopilot Recall with OTA Update

The update will add more controls and alerts to encourage drivers to remain engaged while Autopilot is in use.


Tesla is recalling more than 2 million vehicles over a fault in Autopilot. The issue, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Safety Recall Report, will be fully addressed through a free over-the-air software update.

The Autopilot issue potentially involves 2,031,220 vehicles, including legacy Model S vehicles from the 2012 model year. Such vehicles are equipped with Autosteer, and Tesla’s default safety checks in the driver-assist system may prove inadequate at times, which could result in drivers not paying enough attention to the road, the NHTSA's report said.
“In certain circumstances when Autosteer is engaged, if a driver misuses the SAE Level 2 advanced driver-assistance feature such that they fail to maintain continuous and sustained responsibility for vehicle operation and are unprepared to intervene, fail to recognize when the feature is canceled or not engaged, and/or fail to recognize when the feature is operating in situations where its functionality may be limited, there may be an increased risk of a collision,” the NHTSA’s report said.
The recall is the culmination of a two-year probe into Tesla’s Autopilot system, which has become one of the most robust and most polarizing driver-assist systems deployed in the market today. The NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation on 11 incidents involving Autopilot-equipped Teslas and first responder vehicles in August 2021, and over the next two years, Tesla and the agency worked closely together to determine a fix for Autopilot’s potential issues.

To address the Autopilot issue, Tesla will be rolling out software version 2023.44.30 on affected vehicles. The update includes more notable safety checks for Autosteer, such as additional controls and alerts that remind the driver to use the system properly. It should be noted that Tesla Model S, Model 3, Model X and Model Y vehicles produced from midday Dec. 7 are not part of the recall since they are already loaded with the newest software version.

The NHTSA said the affected vehicles will begin receiving the over-the-air software update shortly after Dec. 12. The update will incorporate additional controls and alerts to further encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility whenever Autosteer is engaged, which includes keeping their hands on the steering wheel and paying attention to the roadway.

Depending on the vehicle's hardware, the update will include increasing the prominence of visual alerts on the user interface, simplifying engagement and disengagement of Autosteer, additional checks upon engaging Autosteer and while using it outside controlled access highways and when approaching traffic controls, and eventual suspension from Autosteer use if the driver repeatedly fails to demonstrate they are paying attention to the road while the feature is engaged.

We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.

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