Tesla has voluntarily recalled nearly 11,704 vehicles after identifying a software error that could cause a false forward-collision warning or unexpected activation of the automatic emergency brake system.
According to a report on Tech Crunch, all the affected vehicles had early access to the automaker’s “Full Self-Driving Beta,” Tesla’s advanced driver-assistance system.
Details of the Recall
The system, which is still in beta mode and requires the driver to be attentive at all times, has been released to thousands of customers in recent weeks. Tesla has said it does not know of any crashes or injuries as a result of the software error. The over-the-air update, which was released on Oct. 23, introduced what a regulator referred to as “a software communication disconnect” between the two onboard chips. Tesla said it started receiving reports from customers the very next day.
According to the safety recall report, the communication disconnect could result in the video neural networks that operate on that chip running less consistently than expected. This inconsistency could “produce negative object velocity detections when other vehicles are present, which could, in turn, lead to false forward-collision warnings and automatic emergency braking events.” The vehicles that are a part of this recall include certain Model S, Model X, and Model 3 cars that were made between 2017 and 2021 and some Model Y vehicles that were manufactured between 2020 and 2021.
The recall announcement comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sent Tesla a letter criticizing the company for issuing safety-critical software updates to its Autopilot software without also filing recall notices. In this particular case, Tesla issued an official recall even though it had already fixed the problem.
Serious Safety Concerns
It does appear that Tesla followed the law in this case fulfilling the legal requirement for companies to tell NHTSA about and initiate a recall on a safety defect within five days. However, this is how Tesla should’ve handled its Autopilot updates as well tied to the issue of the driver-assist system failing to detect emergency vehicles.
It is important to remember that even the Full Self-Driving system, which is currently in the beta phase, still doesn’t make the vehicles fully automated. However, the name is misleading just like Autopilot. It appears that Tesla pushed out the system before adequate testing because, clearly, there were problems the very next day. This is certainly an argument for why cars should not be beta-tested on public roads. Our auto defect lawyers have consistently maintained and still strongly believe that consumers should not put their lives and limbs at risk so Tesla or other automakers can get their products out in the market and maximize their profits. These companies continue to put their profits before public safety.