After an intensive two-year investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Tesla is recalling nearly all of their vehicles on US roads, due to an issue with its Autopilot feature called Autosteer. According to AP News, the recall includes Tesla models Y, S, 3, and X produced between October 5, 2012, and December 7, 2023.
The investigation started in 2021 after 11 vehicle incidents were reported that used the feature. Since then, the NHTSA reviewed over 1,000 incidents of additional crashes that involved Autosteer.
According to the NHTSA filing, unlike true autopilot, Autosteer is a feature that provides drivers “steering, braking, and acceleration support” in certain conditions. It requires the driver’s hands and attention on the steering wheel in case something goes wrong. Instead, the NHTSA found that the features gave drivers a “false sense of security” that could lead to accidents due to inattentiveness behind the wheel.
While their report revealed Tesla’s disagreement with the NHTSA’s final analysis, Tesla eventually agreed to provide remedies to the issue and a recall. According to NBC News, Tesla’s remedy involves a software update that hopes to beef up its Autosteer feature to encourage driver attention by adding “additional controls and alerts” whenever it is used.
An NHTSA spokesperson revealed on Wednesday that their investigation remains open as they monitor Tesla’s remedies to ensure its safety.
“Automated technology holds great promise for improving safety but only when it is deployed responsibly; today’s action is an example of improving automated systems by prioritizing safety,” the spokesperson continued.