Tesla recalls nearly entire fleet to fix autopilot monitoring system

The autopilot monitoring system will be updated to include more controls and alerts to keep drivers engaged when using autopilot.

Tesla is recalling over two million vehicles, nearly all that have been sold in the U.S., to fix an issue with a system that ensures drivers are paying attention when autopilot is engaged. 

This follows a two-year probe by U.S. safety regulators into around 1,000 crashes where autopilot was on. 


Driving the news: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says its investigation found Autopilot’s method of ensuring that drivers are paying attention can be inadequate and can lead to foreseeable misuse of the system.

  • The recall covers models Y, S, 3 and X produced between Oct. 5, 2012, and Dec. 7 of this year.
  • The software update includes additional controls and alerts to further encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility.
  • Depending on a Tesla’s hardware, the added controls include “increasing prominence” of visual alerts, simplifying how Autosteer is turned on and off, additional checks on whether Autosteer is being used outside of controlled access roads and when approaching traffic control devices, “and eventual suspension from Autosteer use if the driver repeatedly fails to demonstrate continuous and sustained driving responsibility.”
  • Autosteer can be used on limited access freeways when it’s not operating with a more sophisticated feature called Autosteer on City Streets.
  • Autopilot can steer, accelerate and brake automatically in its lane, but is a driver-assist system and cannot drive itself despite its name.
  • Tesla says on its website that Autopilot and its Full Self Driving system cannot drive autonomously and are meant to help drivers who have to be ready to intervene at all times.
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