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NHTSA probes Tesla’s recall of 2 million cars over Autopilot concerns
By Ava Grace // May 03, 2024

Auto safety regulators in the United States have opened a new investigation into whether Tesla's recall of over two million vehicles to install new Autopilot safeguards is adequate to avoid preventable crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it opened the probe after receiving reports of 20 crashes involving vehicles that had the new Autopilot software updates installed under Tesla's recall.

The new investigation adds to regulatory scrutiny of Autopilot at a time when CEO Elon Musk is pushing to roll out Tesla's Full Self Driving feature, including by offering a month of free trials and future plans to unveil a line of robotaxis that get around using the autonomous driving software.

The agency said it had concerns following those 20 crashes as well as results from preliminary NHTSA tests of updated vehicles. (Related: Tesla recalls more than 2 million cars to fix a defective driving system following DEADLY CRASHES.)

The agency closed its nearly three-year defect investigation into Autopilot, saying it found evidence that "Tesla's weak driver engagement system was not appropriate for Autopilot's permissive operating capabilities," resulting in a "critical safety gap."

NHTSA disclosed that during its initial Autopilot safety probe launched in August 2021, it identified at least 13 Tesla crashes involving at least one death and many more involving serious injuries in which "foreseeable driver misuse of the system played an apparent role." NHTSA listed reports of 54 serious injuries in Autopilot crashes involving potential driver misuse.

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NHTSA noted Tesla's December recall "allows a driver to readily reverse" the software update. The agency said Tesla has issued additional software updates to address issues related to its concerns but has not made them part of the recall.

Tesla's Autopilot could lead to more road accidents

Tesla said in December that its largest-ever recall covering 2.03 million U.S. vehicles – or nearly all of its vehicles on U.S. roads – was to better ensure drivers pay attention when using its advanced driver assistance system.

The new recall investigation covers models Y, X, S, 3 and Cybertruck vehicles in the U.S. equipped with Autopilot produced between the 2012 and 2024 model years.

NHTSA said there were gaps in Tesla's telematic data reporting on crashes involving Autopilot since the automaker primarily gets data from crashes involving airbag deployments, which account for only about one-fifth of police-reported crashes.

The agency also raised concerns that Tesla's Autopilot name "may lead drivers to believe that the automation has greater capabilities than it does and invite drivers to overly trust the automation."

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It has been said repeatedly that Autopilot does not make vehicles self-driving and is intended for use with a fully attentive driver who is prepared to take over and has hands on the steering wheel.

In February, Consumer Reports, a nonprofit research organization, said its testing of Tesla's Autopilot recall update has found changes that did not adequately address many safety concerns raised by NHTSA. It urged the agency to require the automaker to take "stronger steps."

Tesla said in December it did not agree with NHTSA's analysis but would deploy an over-the-air software update that would "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." Autosteer is one component of Autopilot that maintains a set speed and works to keep a vehicle in its driving lane.

Tesla's software upgrade under the recall includes increasing the prominence of visual alerts and disengaging Autosteer if drivers do not respond to inattentiveness warnings and additional checks upon engaging Autosteer. Tesla said it will restrict Autopilot use for one week if significant improper use is detected.

Watch this video about Tesla Autopilot, and the dangers of sitting behind the wheel when it is active.

This video is from the High Hopes channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Widow SUES Tesla over “dangerous” electric vehicle that KILLED HER HUSBAND.

Left-wing ECO-TERRORISTS set fire to Tesla gigafactory in Berlin.

New Tesla Cybertruck owners in California report steering wheel malfunctions immediately after purchase.

Over 1.1 million Tesla electric cars in China RECALLED over dangerous braking defect.

Tesla factory robot reportedly ATTACKS worker in violent malfunction that left “trail of blood.”

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