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Tesla Recalls 54,000 Models Over ‘Rolling Stops’

Tesla is recalling 54,000 cars equipped with its Full Self-Driving (FSD) software over a feature that allows vehicles to roll through stop signs under the right conditions.

While technically still in beta and incapable of legitimate (SAE Level 5) self-driving, the software suite has been a premium item on Tesla products for years. Introduced in 2016, FSD was originally a $3,000 addition to the company’s $5,000 Autopilot system and allowed customers to financially embrace the promise of total automotive autonomy that’s supposedly forthcoming. Features have improved since 2020, when the public beta was officially  launched, however the company has remained under criticism for underdelivering. Among these were allegations that the latest version of FSD allowed vehicles to conduct rolling stops through some intersections. The issue resulted in the public flogging of Tesla online and subsequent recall.

The automaker has continued to make FSD increasingly expensive and has taken flak for effectively testing features on its own customers. In 2021, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chastised Tesla’s usage of FSD and Autopilot after numerous fatal accidents — advising the automaker to incorporate more driver-monitoring protocols and remove some of the existing features. Tesla complied, stating that future vehicles would utilize in-cabin cameras and remove some functions that were being beta tested.

Though the entire issue seems like a quagmire. Regulators pushing for the enhanced surveillance of motorists and stripping Tesla products of features is no more appetizing than paying for a “Full Self-Driving” system that’s still in development and just had its price raised to $12,000 (or $199 per month if you go the subscription route). Still, Elon Musk has framed it as a relative deal by claiming it’ll someday be worth $100,000 and warned prices will continue to climb as FSD nears completion.

This time the NTSB took a back seat while the automaker dealt with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which notified Tesla that it’s illegal to have vehicles rolling through stop signs. It took a couple of meetings, according to the relevant documents, but regulators managed to get the company to plot a recall for a feature originally released in October of 2020.

Having never considered allowing a vehicle to drive on my behalf at low speeds and being generally averse to self-driving tech, I’ve never bothered to test the “rolling stop” feature. But its supposed to allow FSD-equipped vehicles using Autopilot to squeak through 4-ways, provided the vehicle believes the intersection is clear and the vehicle is traveling below 6 mph.

Obviously, this is illegal in most places and Tesla is now having to issue an over-the-air update that removes the feature from an estimated 53,822 vehicles. This includes the 2020-2022 Model Y, 2017-2022 Model 2, and 2016-2022 Model X and Model S. The manufacturer has said it was unaware of any crashes or injuries relating to the feature as of January 27th, 2022.

Tesla will perform an OTA software update that disables the “rolling stop” functionality, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed out on March 28, 2022. Owners may contact Tesla customer service at 1-877-798-3752. Tesla’s number for this recall is SB-22-00-001. Additionally, concerned parties can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or hit up its website for additional information. Just be sure to have your VIN handy.

[Image: Virrage Images/Shutterstock]

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