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Tesla recalls over 2m cars in US, Canada over autopilot safety concerns

Tesla recalls over 2m cars in US
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December 14, 2023 (MLN): Electric car maker Tesla has initiated a recall of over two million vehicles in the United States and Canada due to risks associated with the autopilot software, as APP reported

In cases where vehicle operators misuse Tesla's driver-assistance program or fail to recognize when the system won't work well, "there may be an increased risk of a collision," said a notice from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 The recall affects models across Tesla's portfolio and will be addressed by an "over-the-air software remedy" typically performed remotely and not involving a trip to a repair shop.

"While not concurring with the agency's analysis," Tesla agreed to "voluntarily administer a recall" to resolve the matter, NHTSA said.

Tesla co-founder and chief executive Elon Musk has spoken bullishly over the years of the potential for cars to reach full autonomy, but the company's official guidelines say drivers must remain at the wheel while using Autopilot.

After a two-year probe, NHTSA found that Autopilot "can provide inadequate driver engagement and usage controls that can lead to foreseeable misuse of the system."

"NHTSA's investigation remains open as we monitor the efficacy of Tesla's remedies," an agency spokesperson said.

  "Automated technology holds great promise for improving safety but only when it is deployed responsibly; today's action is an example of improving automated systems by prioritizing safety."  

Tesla did not respond to an AFP request for comment.

 Tesla's Autopilot program has spurred numerous government investigations as well as media exposes focusing on misuse or vulnerabilities.

The system has also been targeted in lawsuits. In October, a California jury rejected a plaintiff's suit against Tesla which claimed that a fatal 2019 crash was the result of the company's "reckless and negligent behavior.

Michael Brooks, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, an NGO, said the recall announcement would likely reduce crashes.

However, he faulted the NHTSA for not addressing a pattern of Autopilot failing to detect emergency vehicles. The agency has probed this issue following crashes but did not mention it in the notice.

"This fits neatly into the established pattern where Tesla markets greatly advanced vehicle capabilities up to the point of full autonomy, but then blames inattentive drivers when those vehicles ultimately fail to achieve that promise," Brooks said in an email.

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Posted on: 2023-12-14T15:09:47+05:00