The reality of Tesla’s recall of 2 million vehicles — a tool mainstream media is using to spread FUD

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Tesla (TSLA) recalled almost all of its production vehicles ever produced for the US to fix a fault related to its Autopilot (Autosteer) feature.

The news of the largest-ever Tesla vehicle recall spread like wildfire as NHTSA published it on its website on Tuesday (12th December).

However, this recall has since become a tool for the mainstream media. Large news outlets and online publishers are using this recall to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about the safety of Tesla vehicles.

Just this morning one of my childhood friends living in Chicago shared screenshots of the 2 million Tesla vehicles being recalled. He was very concerned that this was a super serious safety issue that Tesla’s cars face. I had to drop a few voice notes to explain that it was not exactly like it’s been portrayed by the media.

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Tesla is rolling out FSD Beta 10.69.1. Full Self-Driving (Beta) Suspension warning.
Above screenshot: Tesla Autopilot FSD Beta release notes clearly mention a suspension notice if the vehicle detects misuse of the system and the driver’s hands are not detected on the steering wheel multiple times. The graphic presentation on the right provides visual direction to keep hands on the steering wheel at all times. Credit: Dan Burkland / Twitter.

The pressure built up on Tesla and the automaker published an official press release on its website with the title “Update Vehicle Firmware to Prevent Driver Misuse of Autosteer” (read the full post below).

Tesla clearly indicates that the driver is solely responsible for using Tesla’s Autopilot/Autosteer on highways and city streets feature’s use by closely paying attention and being alert at all times. Tesla clearly mentions the reminder to be attentive and keep your hands on the steering wheel while using Autopilot and even its most advanced version called Full Self-Driving Beta (FSD Beta).

Despite the clarity of communication by Tesla, owners and drivers have been reported to misuse Tesla’s advanced driver assistance as a fully autonomous system.

An Apple engineer named Walter Huang was killed in 2018 when his Tesla Model X crashed into a concrete barrier on a California Highway. Initially, his family blamed Tesla Autopilot for the fatal accident. After 2 years of investigation, it was confirmed that Mr. Huang was playing video games on his smartphone when the crash happened. This is one extreme example of the misuse of the Tesla Autopilot feature.

We also heard a Tesla owner in the video above that she saw a man lying down in his reclined driver seat while going on a highway at 95 mph. This is the misuse the automaker is discouraging. According to Tesla, the Autopilot package for non-FSD Beta customers is currently only an “SAE Level 2 advanced driver-assistance feature”. Therefore it should not be used as a fully autonomous system.

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Tesla’s Total Recall & Its Remedy

I call it the Total Recall of Tesla as almost all of the automaker’s vehicles in the United States have been recalled. This NHTSA recall number is 23V-838 and the manufacturer recall number is SB-23-00-008.

The majority of automotive and traditional news outlets are portraying this recall as it will result in a massive rush of Tesla vehicles at the company’s factories and service centers. However, the reality is inverted. Tesla will fix this issue with just an over-the-air (OTA) software update.

In its acknowledgment letter to the NHTSA, Tesla states that the 23V-838 (Autopilot Controls Insufficient to Prevent Misuse) recall remedy process will be completed by 10th February 2024.

So, there isn’t going to be an apocalyptic situation at Tesla service centers to fix the cars. The fix for this recall (23V-838) does not need any hardware replacement or fix or going to a service center.

With a large array of Tesla vehicle models from different years, there will be different software update versions needed to fix the issue. This is most probably the reason Tesla gave the Feb 10 timeline to complete the fix.

The Tesla Community is making fun of the perception mainstream media is creating about this 2 million vehicle recall on social media.

Memes showing sarcastic pictures of piled-up Tesla cars waiting to get fixed for the recall 23V-838.
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Some outlets are even misinterpreting the Tesla recall for 2 million vehicles.

Here’s Tesla’s press release/blog post in its entirety!

Update Vehicle Firmware to Prevent Driver Misuse of Autosteer

Tesla has voluntarily issued a recall on certain model year 2012-2023 Model S that are equipped with Autosteer and were produced between October 5, 2012, and December 7, 2023, and all model year 2016-2023 Model X vehicles, all model year 2017-2023 Model 3 vehicles and all model year 2020-2023 Model Y vehicles that are equipped with Autosteer and were produced through December 7, 2023. In certain circumstances when Autosteer is engaged, the prominence and scope of the feature’s controls may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse of the SAE Level 2 advanced driver-assistance feature. At no cost to customers, affected vehicles will receive an over-the-air (OTA) software remedy. 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 supervisory responsibility whenever Autosteer is engaged. This recall affects only vehicles in U.S. and Canada.

At no cost to customers, affected vehicles will receive an over-the-air software remedy, which is expected to begin deploying to certain affected vehicles on or shortly after December 12, 2023, with software version 2023.44.30. These include vehicles equipped with an in-cabin camera and Autopilot Hardware 3.0 or Autopilot Hardware 4.0. Remaining affected vehicles, including vehicles equipped with Autopilot Hardware 3.0 but without an in-cabin camera and vehicles equipped with Autopilot Hardware 2.5, Autopilot Hardware 2.0 or Autopilot Hardware 1.0, will receive an over-the-air software remedy at a later date. Learn more about Autopilot hardware configurations and features.

Neither the recall nor its remedy disables Autosteer or features that rely on Autosteer. As mentioned, 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, which includes keeping their hands on the steering wheel and paying attention to the roadway. Depending on vehicle hardware, the additional controls will include, among others, increasing the prominence of visual alerts on the user interface, simplifying engagement and disengagement of Autosteer, additional checks upon engaging Autosteer and while using the feature outside controlled access highways and when approaching traffic controls and eventual suspension from Autosteer use if the driver repeatedly fails to demonstrate continuous and sustained driving responsibility while the feature is engaged.

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Is my vehicle affected by this recall?

This recall affects vehicles equipped with Autosteer. This includes certain model year 2012-2023 Model S that are equipped with Autosteer and were produced between October 5, 2012, and December 7, 2023 and all model year 2016-2023 Model X vehicles, all model year 2017-2023 Model 3 vehicles and all model year 2020-2023 Model Y vehicles that are equipped with Autosteer and were produced through December 7, 2023. Cybertruck is not affected by this recall. All owners can check if their VIN is affected by using either the Tesla VIN Recall Search or NHTSA VIN Recall Search tools.

At no cost to customers, affected vehicles will receive an over-the-air software remedy, which is expected to begin deploying to certain affected vehicles on or shortly after December 12, 2023, with software version 2023.44.30.  These include vehicles equipped with an in-cabin camera and Autopilot Hardware 3.0 or Autopilot Hardware 4.0. Remaining affected vehicles, including vehicles equipped with Autopilot Hardware 3.0 but without an in-cabin camera and vehicles equipped with Autopilot Hardware 2.5, Autopilot Hardware 2.0 or Autopilot Hardware 1.0, will receive an over-the-air software remedy at a later date. Customers may verify the Autopilot Hardware equipped on their vehicle by checking configuration from the vehicle touchscreen. Select ‘Controls’ > ‘Software’ and confirm Autopilot computer type. Then press ‘Additional Vehicle Information.’

If your vehicle is equipped with an in-cabin camera and Autopilot Hardware 3.0 or Autopilot Hardware 4.0 and is running software version 2023.44.30 or later, then your vehicle has been remedied and there is no further action that you need to take. You can confirm your vehicle’s software version by tapping ‘Controls’ > ‘Software’ on your touchscreen or at the bottom of your vehicle’s home screen in the Tesla mobile app.

What is this issue and how does it affect my vehicle?

Basic Autopilot is a package that includes SAE Level 2 advanced driver-assistance features, including Autosteer and Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC), that drivers may choose to engage subject to certain defined operating limitations. Autosteer is an SAE Level 2 advanced driver-assistance feature that, in coordination with the TACC feature, can provide steering, braking and acceleration support to the driver subject to certain limited operating conditions. Autosteer is designed and intended for use on controlled-access highways when the feature is not operating in conjunction with the Autosteer on City Streets feature. When Autosteer is engaged, as with all SAE Level 2 advanced driver-assistance features and systems, the driver is the operator of the vehicle. As the vehicle operator, the driver is responsible for the vehicle’s movement with their hands on the steering wheel at all times, remaining attentive to surrounding road conditions and intervening (e.g., steer, brake, accelerate or apply the stalk) as needed to maintain safe operation.

When Autosteer is engaged, it uses several controls to monitor that the driver is engaged in continuous and sustained responsibility for the vehicle’s operation as required. If the driver attempts to engage Autosteer when conditions are not met for engagement, the feature will alert the driver it is unavailable through visual and audible alerts, and Autosteer will not engage. Likewise, if the driver operates Autosteer in conditions where its functionality may be limited or has become deteriorated due to environmental or other circumstances, the feature may warn the driver with visual and audible alerts, restrict speed and/or instruct the driver to intervene immediately.

In certain circumstances when Autosteer is engaged, the prominence and scope of the feature’s controls may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse of the SAE Level 2 advanced driver-assistance feature.

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Is my vehicle safe to drive?

Yes. However, in certain circumstances when Autosteer is engaged, if a driver misuses the SAE Level 2 advanced driver-assistance feature such that they fail to maintain continuous and sustained responsibility for vehicle operation and are unprepared to intervene, fail to recognize when the feature is canceled or not engaged and/or fail to recognize when the feature is operating in situations where its functionality may be limited, there may be an increased risk of a collision.

Do I need to make a service appointment for this recall?

No. At no cost to customers, affected vehicles will receive an over-the-air software remedy, which customers can install at their convenience. The owner does not need to schedule a service appointment.

Source

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Iqtidar Ali
Iqtidar Alihttp://www.teslaoracle.com
Iqtidar has been writing about Tesla, Elon Musk, and EVs for more than 3 years on XAutoWorld.com, many of his articles have been republished on CleanTechnica and InsideEVs, maintains a healthy relationship with the Tesla community across the Social Media sphere. You can reach him on Twitter @IqtidarAlii

2 COMMENTS

  1. This is absolutely true, saw an article the other day where the author claims Tesla’s are in more crashes because the software allows autosteer engagement on any road which is absolutely untrue. Reading the article it was clear the author doesn’t have experience driving a Tesla. The article also quotes a professor from some random university in New York who is an expert on supply chain issues which obviously has nothing in common with autosteer, software or driving cars even in the most general sense. FUD is exactly what came to mind as I read the article.

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