Tesla Agrees to Mass US Recall over Full Self-Driving Fears

As predicted earlier this year, Tesla has been forced into a mass recall of its vehicles over regulator concerns for the safety of owners using its Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta software.

The automaker will be recalling more than 362,000 US vehicles because safety authorities say the driver assistance system did not adequately adhere to traffic safety laws and could cause crashes. Reuters reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the Tesla software allows a vehicle to “exceed speed limits or travel through intersections in an unlawful or unpredictable manner increases the risk of a crash.”

That said, the recall will be a virtual one with Tesla agreeing to upgrade the platform with an OTA patch free of charge to its customers. The recall covers 2016-2023 Model S and Model X vehicles, 2017-2023 Model 3, and 2020-2023 Model Y vehicles equipped with FSD Beta software or pending installation.

US Democrat senators, Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal, said the recall was “long overdue,” adding, “Tesla must finally stop overstating the real capabilities of its vehicles”. There are few instances of the regulator intervening with authorized on-road testing of autonomous driving systems but, then, Tesla’s ‘testing’ is entirely unofficial and employs its consumers as guinea pigs in helping it to develop the camera-reliant technology while absolving itself of any liability in the small print of its customers’ purchase agreements.

The recall comes less than two weeks before the company’s March investor day where company chief, Elon Musk, is expected to promote the brand’s artificial intelligence capability and plans to expand its vehicle line-up.

Tesla released FSD Beta to nearly all of its 400,000 FSD customers in the United States and Canada in the fourth quarter, when it recognized FSD revenue of $324M. It said it expects to recognize nearly $1Bn of deferred revenue that remains over time as software updates are delivered.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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