- Tesla is recalling 2 million vehicles in the U.S. and Canada to fix software related to its Autosteer advanced driver assist feature, the company announced Tuesday.
- The massive safety recall is the largest in Tesla’s history and covers all vehicles equipped with Autosteer built from Oct. 5, 2012 through Dec. 7, 2023.
- The recall follows years of scrutiny from regulators over the safety of Tesla’s automated driving features, which have been blamed for over 700 accidents and 17 fatalities since 2019.
The affected Model S, Y, 3 and X vehicles will receive an over-the-air software update that will add “additional controls and alerts” to encourage drivers to better supervise the system when it's active, such as issuing warnings reminding them to keep their hands on the steering wheel and paying attention to the road ahead, the company said.
The recall is only for Tesla vehicles sold in the U.S. and Canada.
Tesla’s Autopilot comes standard on every vehicle. But drivers can purchase optional packages to improve its capabilities, including Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability.
The over-the-air software update will begin rolling out to affected vehicles equipped with software version 2023.44.30 as of Tuesday or shortly after, according to Tesla. The remaining vehicles equipped with Autopilot Hardware 3.0 but no in-cabin camera, as well as vehicles equipped with Autopilot Hardware 2.5, 2.0 or 1.0, will receive an over-the-air software update at a later date, according to Tesla.
Although it is often referred to as a self-driving system, Autopilot, including its Autosteer function, is considered an SAE Level 2 automated driving system, meaning that drivers must always pay attention to the road ahead and actively supervise the system whenever it's active.
Tesla also includes a warning on its website that the system is a “hands-on assistance feature,” requiring drivers to be ready to immediately take over control of the vehicle if prompted. Tesla’s Model Y owner manual includes a warning that “failure to follow these instructions could cause damage, serious injury or death.”
The latest recall is the second this year related to Tesla’s automated driving system. In February, Tesla recalled 362,000 vehicles in the U.S. to update its Full Self-Driving Beta software. The recall followed an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which said it did not adequately adhere to traffic safety laws, which can lead to crashes.
In an interview in May with the Associated Press, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he’s concerned about how Tesla has marketed its Autopilot system. He also said the Transportation Department will hold Tesla accountable for complying with federal safety standards.
“I don’t think that something should be called, for example, an Autopilot, when the fine print says you need to have your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times,” Buttigieg said.
Tesla’s software update aims to make sure that drivers adhere to that guidance.