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Tesla will update Autopilot on over 2 million cars in the US following NHTSA investigation

Published Dec 13th, 2023 9:47AM EST
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After two years of investigation, Tesla is going to have to address a “defect” in Autopilot that the NHTSA has determined led to a number of accidents. The issue impacts over 2 million vehicles that were sold in the United States.

As spotted by The Verge, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a recall on almost every single Tesla Model 3, Model Y, Model S, and Model X that has been sold in the United States. After two years of investigation, the agency concluded there was a “defect” in Autopilot.

According to the report, “In certain circumstances when Autosteer is engaged, the prominence and scope of the feature’s controls may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse of the SAE Level 2 advanced driver-assistance feature.”

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 following Tesla models are impacted by the defect:

  • 2012–2023 Model S
  • 2016–2023 Model X
  • 2017–2023 Model 3
  • 2020–2023 Model Y

In response to the investigation, Tesla is going to release a software update to over 2 million vehicles — almost every model ever sold — in the United States. Software version 2023.44.30 will be released “on or shortly after December 12, 2023” and “incorporate additional controls and alerts” when a driver engages the Autosteer feature.

Tesla says that some of those additional controls and alerts will, depending on the capabilities of the model being updated, 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 the feature outside controlled access highways and when approaching traffic controls, and eventual suspension from Autosteer use if the driver repeatedly fails to demonstrate continuous and sustained driving responsibility while the feature is engaged.”

At no cost to customers, affected vehicles will receive an over-the-air software remedy, which is expected to begin deploying to certain affected vehicles on or shortly after December 12, 2023, with software version 2023.44.30. Remaining affected vehicles will receive an over-the-air software remedy at a later date. The remedy will incorporate additional controls and alerts to those already existing on affected vehicles 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 vehicle hardware, the additional controls will include, among others, increasing the prominence of visual alerts on the user interface, simplifying engagement and disengagement of Autosteer, additional checks upon engaging Autosteer and while using the feature outside controlled access highways and when approaching traffic controls, and eventual suspension from Autosteer use if the driver repeatedly fails to demonstrate continuous and sustained driving responsibility while the feature is engaged.

The software update to affected models should have already started to roll out. Hopefully, this update will hit the Cybertruck immediately so that the first customers get the benefit of this update when they take delivery of the newest model to Tesla’s lineup. That would be just one more weird announcement for the Cybertruck — here’s some of the rest of them.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.

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