Tesla has announced that it plans to recall two million of its vehicles sold in the U.S. that are equipped with the Autopilot system, choosing to do so to end a lengthy investigation by the U.S. Highway Safety Administration that had “objections » about how the American brand’s autonomous driving system works.
In essence this is not a standard recall as the improvements will be made through an Over-The-Air upgrade which, according to the recommendations, will aim to ensure that the driver using Autopilot maintains their attention on the road and the his hands on the wheel, constantly.
The NHTSA side claimed that the mode of operation of Autopilot leaves room for its abuse, that is, it allows the driver to take his attention completely away from the road and hence conducted an investigation into it.
Elon Musk and Tesla’s side dispute the claim that Autopilot allows such use, but agreed to upgrade the software in exchange for NHTSA ending the disputed investigation.
As for the details of the upgrade, according to Tesla new alerts will be added to the existing ones that will “encourage the driver to take full responsibility when activating the Autosteer function” (the function that takes over (and ) full control of the steering system).
The U.S. Highway Authority’s investigation into how Autopilot works and parameters began after about 12 incidents of crashes and crashes involving Teslas that rammed parked vehicles in two cases, fire engines and patrol vehicles. The relevant conclusion of the NHTSA cites as the reason for the above incidents “the design of Tesla’s Autopilot which may allow the driver to misbehave in relation to his duties, and to abuse the system”.
“As a result with the activation of Autopilot there may be an increased risk of accident and collision, if the driver does not have constant vigilance to take responsibility for the operation of the vehicle as he should and if he is not ready to take full control of the car at all times in case of Autopilot malfunction or disengagement for any reason”.
At the moment, Tesla has not announced similar measures for Teslas equipped with Autopilot and distributed in European territory, although the legislation in the old continent is stricter in relation to the operating parameters of Autopilot.