Tesla Hits the Brakes on Self-Driving

By: Krystal Etienne · February 21, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Software Recall

Electric vehicle giant Tesla (TSLA) has issued a voluntary recall on 362,758 vehicles that were equipped with Full Self-Driving, or FSD, which is the company’s experimental driver-assistance software. The recall notice was posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website.

However, CEO Elon Musk was quick to point out that, since FSD can be fixed with a software update rather than extensive industrial repairs, this scenario is quite different from a traditional product recall.

What’s Wrong?

It looks like the term Full Self-Driving might still be a bit of a stretch. The optional installation, available only to drivers with high safety scores, is designed to allow Teslas to navigate complex urban environments independent of driver input. However, the system itself doesn’t get top marks in terms of safety – particularly around intersections. It’s been known to proceed straight while in a turn-only lane or roll through stop signs without caution.

Despite the misleading program name, the product recall stated, “the driver is responsible for operation of the vehicle whenever the feature is engaged and must constantly supervise the feature and intervene (e.g., steer, brake or accelerate) as needed to maintain safe operation of the vehicle.”

Although FSD can be installed in any new Tesla, the system is priced at a premium of $15,000. Tesla has not disclosed how many people have purchased the FSD package.

Hands on the Wheel

Musk has already gone on record to state that Full Self-Driving is “the difference between Tesla being worth a lot of money or worth basically zero.” With this in mind, investors will be keeping a close eye on this recall, as well as any future updates to FSD.

Meanwhile, if you drive a Tesla that’s equipped with the premium FSD software installed, then you can expect an over-the-air software update in the coming days. But for those drivers – as well as those on the streets with them – you’ll want to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road until this experimental system finishes the testing phase.

(And, if recent evidence is anything to go off, even after.)

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