Photo: Flystock (Shutterstock)
Tesla is voluntarily recalling 363,000 of their vehicles in the U.S. due to safety risks stemming from its latest ‘Full Self-driving’ (FSD) Beta software update. FSD can be used to drive the Teslas on local roads, accelerating and braking accordingly based on what it detects with its cameras. However, the system is prone to judgement errors (for example, proceeding straight through an intersection while in a turn-only lane) that, if the driver is not vigilant, could result in vehicle crashes.
Which Tesla models are being recalled?
All Teslas with the current version of the FSD software are affected by the recall, including the following models:
2016-2023 Model S 2016-2023 Model X2017-2023 Model 32020-2023 Model Y
Is Tesla’s FSD safe to use?
Tesla’s full self-driving (FSD) mode doesn’t come standard, but as a $15,000 add-on. The FSD software is a step towards the company’s goal of giving cars the ability go on full autopilot, but the name is a bit deceiving, and they do urge active driver supervision. The recent software update promised the “FSD computer is capable of delivering intelligent performance and control to enable a new level of safety and autonomy,” but as revealed by CNN Business’ test drive last year in Brooklyn, its “intelligent performance” and “safety” were not always in evidence.
The recall reports 18 “warranty claims” (most likely accidents) received between May 8, 2019, and September 12, 2022, that may be related to the FSD. A report last summer from the NHTSA found that Teslas using driver assist technologies were involved in 273 crashes. Some of those accidents resulted in fatalities.
The NHTSA deemed the FSD to be unsafe based on it:
Traveling or turning through certain intersections during a stale yellow traffic light The perceived duration of the vehicle’s static position at certain intersections with a stop sign, particularly when the intersection is clear of any other road usersAdjusting vehicle speed while traveling through certain variable speed zones, based on detected speed limit signage and/or the vehicle’s speed offset setting that is adjusted by the driverNegotiating a lane change out of certain turn-only lanes to continue traveling straight.
Elon Musk has complained about the use of the word “recall” because Tesla can solve most recalls via an “over-the-air” (OTA) software update. However, the definition of recall per the NHTSA is “…issued when a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that a vehicle, equipment, car seat, or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards.” All cars are held to the same standard.
What to do if your Tesla is affected by the FSD recall
Not much, except keep your hands on the wheel. According to the recall notice, Tesla will deploy an OTA software update to remedy the current issue at no cost to the customer. The OTA update will deploy in the coming weeks, and promises to, “improve how FSD Beta negotiates certain driving maneuvers.”