By Chris Isidore, CNN
Tesla is recalling nearly 363,000 vehicles with its so-called “Full Self Driving” driver assist feature due to risks it can pose at intersections, even if the driver is paying attention and ready to take over control of the car.
“Full self-driving,” as it currently stands, navigates local roads with steering, braking and acceleration, but requires a human driver prepared to take control at any moment, as the system makes judgment errors.
“The FSD Beta system may allow the vehicle to act unsafe around intersections, such as traveling straight through an intersection while in a turn-only lane, entering a stop sign-controlled intersection without coming to a complete stop, or proceeding into an intersection during a steady yellow traffic signal without due caution,” the recall notice, posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website, said.
Tesla will attempt to fix the the FSD feature, which costs $15,000, through an over-the-air software update, the notice added. While Tesla CEO Elon Musk has not yet commented on the nature or scope of the problem, he tweeted that “the word “recall” for an over-the-air software update is anachronistic and just flat wrong!”
The notice said that the problems are present with all cars with the current version of the FSD software, which is available on all four Tesla models, the Model S, Model X, Model 3 and Model Y.
It also said Tesla has identified 18 incidents received between May 8, 2019, and September 12, 2022, that may be related to the conditions described above. It said Tesla is not aware of any injuries or deaths caused in those incidents. NHTSA itself has identified at least 273 crashes that involved one of Tesla’s driver assist systems.
FSD is considered key to the company’s basic business plan, given the premiums that drivers pay for the features.
Musk has repeatedly predicted that the company would soon build a truly self-driving car, but has also repeatedly pushed back his own self-imposed deadlines. Tesla owners have filed a class-action lawsuit over the predictions and missed deadlines, which is still pending.
“Mere failure to realize a long-term, aspirational goal is not fraud,” Tesla’s lawyers wrote in a November 28 court filing, asking that the suit be dismissed.
Musk has said for years that the price of “full self-driving” would increase periodically as it develops and moves closer to regulatory approval. He tweeted in May 2020 that when “full self-driving” had that approval the feature would “probably” be worth more than “$100,000.” But Tesla does not appear close to regulatory approval for “full self-driving.” In August of 2022, the California DMV said that the name “full self-driving” is “a deceptive practice” and grounds for suspending or revoking Tesla’s license to sell vehicles in the state.
NHTSA is also investigating the more rudimentary predecessor of “full self-driving,” Autopilot. That technology combines lane-keeping assist with adaptive cruise control to keep a car in a lane on a highway, as opposed to the promise of “full self-driving,” which Tesla says aims to one day be able to operate a vehicle without human supervision on a city street.
Tesla, which has disbanded its public relations staff and has not responded to press inquiries for several years, could not be reached for comment.
~ CNN’s Matt McFarland contributed to this report. The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.