This is pretty freaky!
Tesla is once again in trouble with the US government, and this time the Elon Musk-owned company is being forced to issue software patches for more than two million of its cars over an apparently major problem with its Autopilot feature.
In a recall notice, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that 2,031,220 Teslas of various models potentially had a defect in their Autosteer technology, which the regulator says made an insufficient effort to make sure drivers are paying attention when it's engaged.
"In certain circumstances when Autosteer is engaged," the NHTSA's notice reads, "the prominence and scope of the feature’s controls may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse of the... advanced driver-assistance feature."
As the agency explains in its notice, Tesla agreed to the recall — which, to be clear, does not mean all Tesla drivers need to physically take their cars back to the dealership, but rather that a software patch will be engaged to fix the issue — but claims that it does not agree with the NHTSA's assessment of the Autosteer problem.
Nevertheless, Tesla did agree to an "over-the-air" — read: remote — software update.
"The remedy 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 notice describes, "which includes keeping their hands on the steering wheel and paying attention to the roadway."
The Associated Press estimates that the software update will affect nearly all of the company's electric vehicles sold in the US. And that's a gigantic number of cars to be cruising around with faulty assisted driving software — but then again, this is far from the first time Autopilot has been in trouble with the feds, nor the first time Tesla has had to do voluntary recalls, either.
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