Tesla issued a safety recall for nearly 12,000 vehicles on Tuesday for a “software communication error” related to an update the company rolled out last month. The issue has impacted drivers who are part of the Tesla Full-Self Driving Beta Limited Early Access population, which includes Model S, X, 3, and Y vehicles released from 2017 to 2021.
As detailed in a safety recall relationship by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, the error involving a communication problem between two in-car chips could potentially cause false warnings of frontal collision or automatic emergency braking, putting passengers at risk of being hit by the car behind them if the function activates unexpectedly while driving.
On October 14, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced Twitter the company will release a new firmware update for drivers with high safety scores (a metric tracked by electric vehicles based on average driving behavior). He updated his Twitter thread a little over a week later, saying there had been complications and that the company would be rolling the cars back to the previous Full-Self Driving Beta.
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“This is to be expected with beta software. It is impossible to test all hardware configurations under all conditions with internal QA, hence the public beta, ”added Musk.
The NHTSA report explains that customers began reporting warning and braking issues within one day of the October 23 launch. Although the company claims it was able to identify the “root cause” and develop a solution, a software update that was rolled out to all but 17 affected vehicles still chose to proceed with a recall. Gizmodo He called it the “most significant US recall” related specifically to “driver assistance features” so far, although the article noted that this isn’t the first time Tesla’s Full-Self Driving beta has been examined. Consumer reports experts have repeatedly expressed worry about its capabilities and Tesla’s choice to distribute them to customers who drive on normal roads for beta testing.
This is also not Tesla’s first contact with NHTSA, the federal agency launched on investigation at the company this summer following repeated Tesla crashes that hit emergency vehicles while on autopilot mode. And just two weeks before Tesla voluntarily proceeded with this recall in October, the NHTSA sent a letter to the company’s director of field quality, Eddie Gates, asking for more information to understand why Tesla hadn’t issued one in recognition of this autopilot problem.
“NHTSA reminds the public that no motor vehicle commercially available today is capable of driving alone,” said an NHTSA spokesperson. PopSci in an August email about calling for emergency vehicles. “Every available vehicle requires a human driver to be in control at all times, and all state laws hold human drivers accountable for the operation of their vehicles.”
The announcement of the recall on Tuesday came as Tesla courted unrelated questions about an alleged deal with Hertz, which Musk questioned on Monday night. The car rental company announced last week that it would place an “initial order” for 100,000 Tesla within the next 13 months, according to CNBC. Following the news, Tesla’s market cap reached $ 1 trillion for the first time.
But in response to a tweet celebrating that spike in stock prices, Musk tweeted, “If all of this is based on Hertz, I would like to point out that no contracts have been signed yet. Tesla has a lot more demand than production, so we will only sell cars to Hertz for the same consumer margin. “
A spokesperson for Hertz said so CNBC On Tuesday the company remains “on schedule” to move forward with their sizable order.