Tesla recalls 363,000 vehicles with Full Self-Driving system to fix ‘defects’

Tesla is recalling nearly 363,000 vehicles with its Full Self-Driving (FSD) system to fix problems with the way it behaves around intersections and following posted speed limits.

The recall, part of a larger investigation by US safety regulators into the company’s automated driving systems, came after regulators expressed concerns about the way Tesla’s system responded in four areas along roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in documents posted on Thursday that Tesla would fix the concerns with an online software update in the coming weeks.

The documents said Tesla was doing the recall but did not agree with an agency analysis of the problem.

The system, which is being tested on public roads by up to 400,000 Tesla owners, makes unsafe actions such as travelling straight through an intersection while in a turn-only lane, failing to come to a complete stop at stop signs, or going through an intersection during a yellow traffic light without proper caution, NHTSA said.

In addition, the system may not adequately respond to changes in posted speed limits, or it may not account for the driver’s adjustments in speed, the documents said.

“FSD beta software that allows a vehicle to exceed speed limits or travel through intersections in an unlawful or unpredictable manner increases the risk of a crash,” the agency said in documents.

A message was left on Thursday seeking comment from Tesla, which has disbanded its media relations department.

Tesla has received 18 warranty claims that could be caused by the software from May 2019 through to September 12 2022. But the Austin, Texas, electric vehicle maker told the agency it was not aware of any deaths or injuries.

Tesla cars are loaded onto carriers
Tesla was undertaking the recall but did not agree with NHTSA analysis of the problem, documents said (Ben Margot/AP)

In a statement, NHTSA said it had found the problem during tests performed as part of an investigation into Full Self-Driving and Autopilot software that takes on some driving tasks.

“As required by law and after discussions with NHTSA, Tesla launched a recall to repair those defects,” the agency said.

Despite their names and claims by chief executive Elon Musk that Full Self-Driving vehicles did not need human intervention, Tesla said on its website that the cars could not drive themselves and owners must be ready to intervene at all times.

NHTSA’s testing found that Autosteer On City Streets, which is part of Tesla’s FSD beta testing, “led to an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety based on insufficient adherence to traffic safety laws”.

The recall covers certain 2016-2023 Model S and Model X vehicles, as well as 2017 through to 2023 Model 3s, and 2020 through to 2023 Model Y vehicles equipped with the software, or with installation pending.

Shares of Tesla fell about 2% in Thursday afternoon trading. The stock has rallied about 71% in the year to date, reversing 2022’s hefty loss.

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