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Tesla Recalls 2 Million Cars on US Roads over Autopilot Issue

Milton Quintanilla | Crosswalk Headlines Contributor | Updated: Dec 20, 2023
Tesla Recalls 2 Million Cars on US Roads over Autopilot Issue

Tesla Recalls 2 Million Cars on US Roads over Autopilot Issue

Tesla has announced a recall of nearly 2 million vehicles on the road in the United States in light of a two-year investigation regarding 1,000 crashes while its autopilot feature was on.

As reported by NBC News, the recall includes the 2012-2023 Model S, 2016-2023 Model X, 2017-2023 Model 3, and 2020-2023 Model Y equipped with the autopilot feature, known as Autosteer. According to Tesla, Autosteer is described as “traffic-aware cruise control.”

“In certain circumstances when Autosteer is engaged, the prominence and scope of the feature’s controls may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse,” a recall notice said. 

Although Autosteer keeps vehicles at a set speed and detects lane markings and the presence of other vehicles, the company advises drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel and “always be prepared to take immediate action” despite using the feature. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration first conducted the probe into Tesla’s Autosteer in August 2021, looking at 11 accidents involving the feature. Overall, the NHTSA reviewed nearly 1,000 crashes in which the autopilot was reportedly enabled and centered on 322 autopilot-involved crashes "including frontal impacts and impacts from potential inadvertent disengagement of the system."

The investigation also found that in certain cases involving Autosteer,  the driver “does not maintain responsibility for vehicle operation and is unprepared to intervene as necessary or fails to recognize when Autosteer is canceled or not engaged; there may be an increased risk of a crash.” 

The recall comes two days after an investigation conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found eight serious accidents, including some fatalities that took place when Autosteer should have never been activated to begin with.

According to the report, Tesla agreed to a recall and remedy recall and remedy: a free over-the-air software update to impacted vehicles. At the same time, however, the company did not agree with the NHTSA’s engineering analysis of the Autosteer issue.

The safety report explained that the update will “incorporate additional controls and alerts" to "further encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility whenever Autosteer is engaged.”

On Monday, Tesla responded to a Washington Post article noting that eight serious or fatal car crashes took place when Autosteer should have been active to begin with. 

“Safety metrics are emphatically stronger when Autopilot is engaged than when not engaged,” the company wrote on X.

Per CNN, Tesla agreed to the software update on Tuesday in which the company will limit Autosteer if a driver continually fails to show their preparedness to regain control of the car when the feature is enabled.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the NHTSA spokesperson said that its investigation "remains open as we monitor the efficacy of Tesla’s remedies and continue to work with the automaker to ensure the highest level of safety."

"Automated technology holds great promise for improving safety but only when it is deployed responsibly; today’s action is an example of improving automated systems by prioritizing safety," the spokesperson continued.

Photo Courtesy: ©Pexels/Roberto Nickson

Video Courtesy: CBS Evening News via YouTube

Milton QuintanillaMilton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for CrosswalkHeadlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.

Tesla Recalls 2 Million Cars on US Roads over Autopilot Issue