Tesla Recalls 50,000 Vehicles Due to Self-Driving Software Runs Stop Signs Leading to Accident Dangers
According to an online news report posted on cbsnews.com, Tesla issued a safety recall that affects more than 54,000 of its cars and SUVs due to their "Full Self-Driving" software allowing the vehicles to "roll through stop signs without coming to a complete stop." U.S. safety regulators stated that Tesla is disabling the "Full Self-Driving" feature with its over-the-internet software update. Tesla's "rolling stop" feature permits its vehicles to drive through intersections with all-way stop signs at up to 5.5 miles per hour.
After two meetings with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officials, Tesla agreed to the safety recall. The NHTSA stated in its internal documents that "failing to stop for a sign can increase the risk of a crash." Tesla reported it was not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by its "rolling stop" feature.
Tesla also reported that it would not roll out new vehicle models in 2022 due to chip shortages. This safety recall involves Model X SUVs and S sedans manufactured from 2016 through 2022, Model 3 sedans manufactured from 2017 to 2022, and Model Y SUVs made from 2020 through 2022.
Selected Tesla owners are currently "beta testing" the "Full Self-Driving" software on public roadways. Tesla says the vehicles cannot drive themselves, and the drivers must always be ready to take over driving at all times.
Safety advocates are not happy that Tesla is testing their Full Self-Driving" vehicles in traffic using untrained drivers. This is because the Tesla software can malfunction, and this exposes pedestrians and other motorists to danger. Other auto companies with comparable software tests are using trained human drivers.
Tesla's "rolling stop" feature allows its Teslas to go through all-way stop signs if the owner has enabled the function. The vehicles will travel under 5.6 mph while entering the intersection, and if no cars, pedestrians, or bicyclists are detected, the car will continue through the intersection. Moreover, the roads leading into the intersection must have a speed limit of no more than 30 mph. The Teslas would then self-drive through the intersection without coming to a complete stop.
Princeton University's faculty chair of Autonomous Vehicle Engineering, Alain Kornhauser, stated that the recall shows that the NHTSA is accomplishing its job as "the nation's road safety watchdog." This Tesla recall shows the NHTSA is effective even when companies like Tesla should have been more responsible.
NHTSA stated that it received a complaint back in November from a Tesla driver who stated that their Tesla's "Full Self-Driving" software caused an accident. The Tesla owner stated that their Model Y drove into the wrong traffic lane and was struck by another motor vehicle. The SUV alerted the driver halfway into the turn, and the Tesla owner attempted to avoid other traffic, but the vehicle took control and "forced itself into the incorrect lane," the complaint alleged.
Back in December, Tesla compromised by updating its less sophisticated "Autopilot" driver-assist system following an investigation opened by the NHTSA. The NHTSA investigation spanned 765,000 Tesla vehicles. Eight months later, the NHTSA reported that it had identified eleven crashes involving Teslas on Autopilot or Traffic-Aware Cruise Control. The accidents identified by the NHTSA found that 17 people were injured, and one person was tragically killed.
In addition to the NHTSA investigation, auto safety regulators examined 580,000 Tesla motor vehicles that were equipped with Tesla's "Passenger Play." Passenger Play was supposed to only be available when a Tesla car is in "park." However, the NHTSA reported that the agency had received complaints that Tesla's "Passenger Play" could be turned on and played while someone was driving, increasing the chance of an accident. Tesla stopped allowing video games to be played while its vehicles are moving.
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