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A Lack Of Autopilot Safeguards Prompts Tesla To Recall Almost All Of Its Cars On US Roads

A Lack Of Autopilot Safeguards Prompts Tesla To Recall Almost All Of Its Cars On US Roads
Due to safety concerns raised by a federal safety authority, Tesla is recalling more than 2 million cars in the United States to install additional protections in its Autopilot advanced driver-assistance system.
Almost all cars on American roads appear to be covered by the biggest-ever Tesla recall, which aims to improve driver attentiveness when operating the system. According to Tesla's recall request, there is a chance that the software controls on Autopilot "may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse" and so raise the possibility of an accident.
The electric carmaker run by billionaire Elon Musk has been the subject of an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for more than two years regarding whether or not its vehicles sufficiently enforce driver attention.
Ann Carlson, the acting administrator of the NHTSA, commended Tesla for consenting to the recall. During a U.S. House hearing, she stated, "We found that drivers are not always paying attention when that system is on."
After Carlson continued to hear of deadly collisions involving the usage of Autopilot, the agency launched a safety investigation in August 2021, she said. "My immediate response was, 'We have to do something about this,'" she explained.
In a different announcement, Transport Canada stated that Tesla will recall 193,000 cars to fix the Autopilot problem. It was unclear right away whether China would request a recall.
While upgraded Autopilot can help with lane changes on highways, it does not transform cars into autonomous ones. Tesla's Autopilot is designed to allow cars to steer, accelerate, and brake autonomously within their lane.
Autosteer is one feature of Autopilot that keeps a car in its driving lane and maintains a predetermined speed or following distance.
Although Tesla expressed disagreement with the NHTSA's analysis, it announced that it would implement an over-the-air software update to "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."

U.S. Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal said the recall "is critically needed to make Tesla’s cars safer, but it is egregiously overdue... We urge NHTSA to continue its investigations to spur necessary recalls, and Tesla to stop misleading drivers and putting the public in great danger."
The NHTSA stated that as it watches Tesla's fixes, its investigation into Autopilot will continue.
After discovering more than a dozen collisions in which Tesla vehicles collided with stopped emergency vehicles, the NHTSA began its Autopilot investigation in August 2021. June 2022 saw an upgrade to the probe. According to the NHTSA, Autopilot "may not offer sufficient driver engagement and usage controls, which may result in predictable misuse." The NHTSA examined 956 crashes in which Autopilot was first purportedly used, with a particular emphasis on 322 crashes involving Autopilot.
Professor of law at the University of South Carolina Bryant Walker Smith predicted that the software-only remedy would be quite small. This recall "really seems to put so much responsibility on human drivers instead of a system that facilitates such misuse."
Attorney Donald Slavik, who is representing several plaintiffs suing Tesla on the grounds that Autopilot is defective, stated that some states, including California, may permit plaintiffs to provide proof of the NHTSA recall in addition to any post-accident repairs provided by Tesla. Plaintiffs must still demonstrate that the recall's flaw was the reason behind their specific accident, though.
"This is one step ... but it’s not a determination in any case," Slavik said.
Separately, the NHTSA has started over thirty-six special collision investigations into Tesla since 2016. In these incidents, where driving systems like Autopilot were suspected of being deployed, 23 crash deaths have been reported.
According to the NHTSA, when drivers utilise Autopilot without maintaining accountability and are unprepared to intervene, there may be a higher risk of crashes.
According to the EPA, Tesla will update 2.03 million Model S, X, 3, and Y cars manufactured in the United States since 2012.
The hardware-based update for the vehicle will make visual signals more conspicuous, make it easier to enter and disengage Autosteer, and require more checks when Autosteer is engaged.
In October, Tesla said that the US Justice Department had sent subpoenas concerning its Full Self-Driving (FSD) and Autopilot systems. In October 2022, Reuters revealed that Tesla was the subject of a criminal probe.
After the NHTSA claimed that Tesla's 362,000 American cars did not properly follow traffic safety regulations and may result in collisions, the company recalled the cars in February in order to upgrade its FSD Beta software.
In 2017, the NHTSA concluded its previous Autopilot investigation without taking any further action. Tesla has come under fire from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for lacking Autopilot system protections, and the NHTSA has been criticised for failing to guarantee Autopilot safety.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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