Nearly all of the cars that Tesla has sold in the US to date, or over 2 million vehicles, are being recalled in order to correct a defective technology that was intended to ensure that drivers are paying attention when using Autopilot.

According to documents released today by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Tesla will try to resolve the issue by sending out a software update rather than physically recalling cars.

The Model X, Model S, Model Y, and Model 3 are among the virtually all-Tesla vehicles sold in the United States that are affected by the recall. It affects vehicles made between October 5, 2012, and December 7, 2023.

READ MORE: BMW Has Recently Introduced Its Latest Line Of Electric Vehicles (EVs) As Part Of Its Strategic Endeavor To Compete With Both Tesla And Prominent Automobile Manufacturers In China

It follows a two-year NHTSA probe into a string of crashes that were purportedly caused by the Autopilot technology. More than 40 special crash investigations involving Tesla vehicles and situations where advanced driver assistance like Autopilot was suspected of being turned on have been opened by the NHTSA since 2016. These investigations have revealed 19 crash-related deaths.

According to the NHTSA, the autopilot’s approach to making sure drivers are focused and in control is insufficient, and that “the prominence and scope of the feature’s controls may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse in certain circumstances when Autosteer is engaged.”

READ MORE: People Are Quite Concerned About The Future After Hearing “Spooky” Audio Of AI Scheduling A Tesla Sales Meeting

In addition to incorporating extra measures and warnings “to further encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility,” the NHTSA safety recall report mentions that Tesla’s software update—which has been distributed to certain vehicles and is currently in the process of being rolled out—seems to restrict the locations in which Autosteer can be utilized.

According to the NHTSA report, “additional controls will include, among other things, making visual alerts more prominent on the user interface, making Autosteer engagement and disengagement simpler, conducting additional checks when using Autosteer, outside of controlled access highways, and when approaching traffic controls. Lastly, Autosteer use may be suspended if the driver repeatedly fails to demonstrate continuous and sustained driving responsibility while the feature is engaged.”

READ MORE: YouTuber Installs A Gas Generator In His Tesla So He Won’t Have To Plug It In While On A Road Trip

“Autopilot is a hands-on driver assistance system that is intended to be used only with a fully attentive driver,” according to documentation from Tesla. It does not create autonomous driving or make a Tesla become self-driving. Thus, in spite of its name, Autopilot is unable to drive for you; instead, it can only automatically steer, accelerate, and brake in a lane.

Tesla owners must consent to “maintain control and responsibility” for the EV and to always have their hands on the steering wheel before they can use Autopilot. When activated, Autopilot is meant to issue a sequence of increasingly intense visual and auditory alerts, prompting drivers to apply more torque to the wheel. Autopilot gets locked out for the length of the trip if the driver disregarded these alerts on several occasions.

Although some have discovered that these systems can be tricked by draping a weight over a steering wheel spoke, Autopilot, like many other advanced driving aid systems, needs a driver to retain their hands on the wheel.

Car and Driver conducted a research in 2021 and discovered that, depending on the model, it may take certain cars anywhere from 25 to 40 seconds to flash a warning when a driver took their hands off the wheel. Some cars would keep going for another thirty seconds before braking if other drivers didn’t react. This implies that the Tesla system may operate autonomously for up to a mile at highway speeds. Drivers have occasionally been observed improperly using the back seat while Autopilot is engaged.

NHTSA inspectors met with Tesla between mid-October and mid-December of this year, according to the recall documents, to “discuss the agency’s tentative conclusions… as they related to the issue of potential driver misuse when Autosteer is engaged.” It continues by saying that although Tesla agreed to “voluntarily administer a recall and provide the remedy,” the company disagreed with the agency’s analysis.

As for the NHTSA’s investigation of Tesla, it states that it will continue “to work with the automaker to ensure the highest level of safety and monitor the efficacy of Tesla’s remedies.”


Radiant and America Nu, offering to elevate your entertainment game! Movies, TV series, exclusive interviews, music, and more—download now on various devices, including iPhones, Androids, smart TVs, Apple TV, Fire Stick, and more.