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Tesla Recalls Over 2 Million Vehicles in the U.S. Over Autopilot Safety Concerns

In response to safety concerns surrounding its Autopilot system, Tesla has initiated a recall affecting more than 2 million vehicles in the United States. The move follows a two-year investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) into incidents involving crashes while the Autopilot semi-automated driving feature was engaged, some of which resulted in fatalities. The concern is over the misuse of Tesla’s Autopilot feature, which allows for assisted steering, braking, and lane changes but does not render the vehicle fully autonomous.

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Affected vehicles include the 2012-2023 Model S, 2016-2023 Model X, 2017-2023 Model 3, and 2020-2023 Model Y, totalling over 2 million units. NHTSA states that in certain circumstances, when Autosteer is engaged, and the driver does not maintain responsibility for vehicle operation and is unprepared to intervene as necessary or fails to recognise when Autosteer is cancelled or not engaged, there may be an increased risk of a crash.

The recall aims to address a flawed driver monitoring system within Autopilot, intending to enhance warnings and alerts for drivers and restrict certain areas where the basic Autopilot functions can operate. Documents released by safety regulators highlight the inadequacy of Autopilot’s method in ensuring driver attentiveness, pointing to a potential for misuse of the system.

The recall encompasses Tesla models Y, S, 3, and X produced between October 5, 2012, and December 7 of the current year, with an initial software update distributed to select affected vehicles, followed by subsequent updates.

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Tesla’s shares initially dipped over 3 per cent in response to this news. Individuals impacted by accidents involving Tesla’s technology echo concerns, with one individual, Dillon Angulo, injured in a 2019 crash, expressing the urgency to remove such technology from roads and urging government intervention.

As part of the recall, Tesla plans to roll out an over-air update, free of charge, designed to enhance safety measures. This update will introduce additional alerts to ensure drivers remain attentive when Autopilot is engaged and are promptly notified when it disengages. The update will also include measures to simplify the engagement and disengagement process of Autosteer and introduce more checks upon activation.

Written by:- Ronit Agarwal

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