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Tesla recalling 2 million US vehicles over Autopilot safeguards

Washington, December 13, 2023, The Europe Today: Tesla is recalling just over two million vehicles in the United States to install new safeguards to prevent the misuse of its Autopilot advanced driver-assistance system.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been investigating the electric automaker led by billionaire Elon Musk for more than two years over whether Tesla vehicles adequately ensure that drivers pay attention when using the driver assistance system.

Tesla said Autopilot’s software system controls “may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse.”

Acting NHTSA Administrator Ann Carlson told Reuters earlier this year it’s “really important that driver monitoring systems take into account that humans over-trust technology.”

Tesla said it will deploy an over-the-air software update that will “incorporate additional controls and alerts to those already existing on affected vehicles to further encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility whenever Autosteer is engaged.”

The agency opened a probe in August 2021 into Autopilot after identifying more than a dozen crashes in which Tesla vehicles hit stationary emergency vehicles. NHTSA said as a result of its investigation Tesla had issued the recall after the agency found “Tesla’s unique design of its Autopilot system can provide inadequate driver engagement and usage controls that can lead to foreseeable misuse of the system.”

Tesla’s Autopilot is intended to enable cars to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within their lane, while enhanced Autopilot can assist in changing lanes on highways but does not make them autonomous.

Separately, since 2016, NHTSA has opened more than three dozen Tesla special crash investigations in cases where driver systems such as Autopilot were suspected of being used, with 23 crash deaths reported to date.