Tesla’s ‘phantom braking’ downside is getting worse, and the US authorities has questions

Tesla’s ‘phantom braking’ problem is getting worse, and the US government has questions


When final we checked in with Tesla’s “phantom braking” downside, the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration mentioned it had obtained 350 complaints from homeowners who mentioned their autos had been braking for no cause. Now that quantity stands at 758, and the US authorities has some questions.

On Might 4th, NHTSA fired off a 14-page “request for info” letter to Tesla about these incidents, together with a request for all shopper and discipline stories it has obtained about false braking, in addition to stories of crashes, accidents, deaths, and property injury claims.

NHTSA additionally desires to know whether or not Tesla’s Full Self-Driving system was lively throughout any of those incidents. Tesla has till June 20, 2022, to adjust to the request, although it may well search an extension if it desires. (The letter was first reported by the Related Press.)

Studies of “phantom braking” first surfaced final fall, when Tesla was pressured to roll again model 10.3 of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta software program, the corporate’s superior driver help system, due to points with ahead collision warnings and sudden braking.

However after the rollback, the variety of complaints really elevated considerably, with NHTSA receiving at the least 107 from November to January, in contrast with solely 34 within the previous 22 months, in accordance with The Washington Put up. In February, NHTSA started investigating incidents involving Tesla Mannequin 3 and Mannequin Y autos after receiving 354 complaints.

NHTSA’s Workplace of Defects Investigation opened a “preliminary analysis,” which is the stage earlier than the company might concern a proper recall and covers roughly 416,000 autos. So far, there have been no stories of crashes, accidents, or fatalities because of this concern.

The issue could also be traced to the choice final 12 months by Tesla to take away radar sensors from new Mannequin 3 and Mannequin Y autos. The choice got here after Musk publicly expressed a need to rely completely on cameras to energy the corporate’s superior driver help system.

Tesla has drawn scrutiny from security advocates and regulators for its willingness to permit its prospects to check what is basically an unfinished model of a software program product that Musk has lengthy promised will result in absolutely autonomous autos on the street. Earlier this 12 months, the corporate was pressured to concern a software program replace to take away an FSD function that enables vehicles to carry out a “rolling cease” — a maneuver during which the car strikes slowly via a cease signal with out coming to a full cease. (A rolling cease is a standard driving maneuver regardless of being unlawful in all 50 states within the US.)

Tesla didn’t reply to a request for remark, nor has it since 2019 when it dissolved its PR division.


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