Last Updated on December 14, 2023 by Robert Wilson
Tesla, the innovative electric car company led by billionaire Elon Musk, is initiating a massive recall of more than 2 million vehicles in the United States.
The recall is prompted by findings from the US regulator, which identified a partial defect in Tesla’s driver assistance system, Autopilot.
This move comes after a comprehensive two-year investigation into crashes that occurred while the Autopilot technology was in operation.
Tesla recalls 2 million cars with ‘insufficient’ Autopilot safety controls
The recall of 2 million cars is not expected to significantly dampen enthusiasm, with only a slight drop in share price noted. Recalls are common in the automotive industry, and Tesla’s financial strength allows for necessary fixes.
Despite the setback, Tesla remains committed to advancing self-driving technology, considering it crucial for future growth.
Analysts from Goldman Sachs project that Tesla’s full self-driving feature could generate over $50 billion annually by 2030, a substantial increase from the current $1-3 billion range.
In the U.S., the full self-driving package is priced at $12,000, with an additional $199 monthly subscription fee.
Autopilot Feature: A Closer Look at the Issues
The recall encompasses nearly every Tesla sold in the US since the launch of the Autopilot feature in 2015. Autopilot, designed to assist with steering, acceleration, and braking, has been under scrutiny due to incidents during its use. Contrary to its name, the system necessitates ongoing driver input. Tesla’s software is intended to ensure that drivers remain attentive, and the feature is exclusively engaged in suitable conditions, primarily on highways.
The NHTSA Investigation and Findings
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a thorough investigation, analyzing 956 Tesla crashes over two years. The NHTSA concluded that “the prominence and scope of the feature’s controls may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse.” This revelation raises concerns about the responsible deployment of automated technology for improved safety.
Tesla’s Response and Over-the-Air Software Update
Tesla, in response to the recall, plans to address the issue through an over-the-air software update. Unlike traditional recalls requiring a visit to a dealership or garage, this update occurs automatically. Despite the seamless process, the NHTSA still categorizes it as a recall. Notably, Tesla did not concur with the agency’s analysis but committed to enhancing the feature by adding new elements, including additional checks on activating the self-driving features.
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