facepalm: A limited number of Tesla vehicles are subject to a recent NHTSA safety recall. Apparently, Tesla thought it would be a good idea to include a feature in their self-driving software that allows the car to perform a stopover in California. This maneuver is banned in all 50 states.
Tesla on Monday published safety recall for 53,822 vehicles covering all models equipped with “full self-driving” (FSD) software. United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warned a company that makes changes to the software that adds work profiles to the FSD function may cause the vehicle to fail to stop at stop signs, increasing the risk of a collision.
Tesla added driving profiles into its self-driving software beta back in October. The update included the ability to choose from three different driving profiles with more or less clear names – “Cold”, “Medium”, “Persistent”. According to NHTSA, the feature was only launched as part of “limited early access to the FSD beta.”
It is the Assertive variant that causes the problem. When the vehicle is autonomous and set to this profile, the vehicle will drive more aggressively, including more frequent lane changes, passing lanes, and stops. A rolling stop (also called a “California stop”) is when the driver slows the vehicle in front of a stop sign without coming to a complete stop.
“If you don’t stop at a stop sign, it could increase the risk of an accident,” says the NHTSA.
The software performs several checks before allowing the stop. First, you need to enable it in your profile settings. The intersection must be completely stopped and in an area where the speed limit in both directions is 30 mph or less. There should be no moving cars, pedestrians or cyclists near the crossing. The sensors must also have “sufficient” visibility when approaching an intersection. If any of these conditions are not met, the vehicle comes to a complete stop.
Despite precautions being taken, stopping in California is illegal in all states, including California. If this is done in the presence of a police officer, chances are good that you will be stopped, and if he is not in a good mood, you are likely to receive a traffic ticket. So why Tesla even included this as an option in their software remains a mystery.
Tesla has dealt with several recalls in the past year for various reasons. The latter came right after a widely publicized criticism that claimed that Tesla’s self-driving software suffered a “critical crash” every eight seconds. It is unclear whether the NHTSA withdrawal warning was a direct consequence of this criticism.
Tesla agreed with NHTSA and will voluntarily recall the vehicles. However, since this is only a software issue, customers do not need to take their vehicles in for service. Tesla plans to release an over-the-air update for all affected systems. Until March 28, he will send notification letters to clients; however, it is not clear when Tesla will release the software update.